During National Military Appreciation Month, it is our honor to salute some incredible men and women, and share their stories of what service means to them. Meet Second Class Petty Officer Edwin Love, U.S. Navy (ret.). This inspiring sailor is the living epitome of the Navy saying: “Out here, it’s not where the sea takes you, but who it makes you. This is where you test your limits, build your strength and fulfill your potential. Become a part of something bigger.” Sharing his thoughts on how military service has impacted his life, Edwin says, “To be completely honest, I joined the military because I ran out of options. I was running out of money for college, and there was no way I was going back home to California in defeat. I didn’t really know what it meant to be in service to others until after my first deployment. For it was there I was made to work the most grueling jobs I could handle - not yet realizing I was becoming, a sailor, a shipmate, a citizen…..a man. A sailor with character that others looked up to, a shipmate with responsibility and integrity that can be trusted, and a man with the desire to protect even the smallest creature from harm because I knew that everything and everyone was an important piece in the world I hoped to make better. After that first deployment, I felt I was a part of my country, rather than just living in it. I felt I owed it more than it owed me. I remember it like it was yesterday. We had just pulled into Marseille, France and it was my first time in Europe. After my friends and I got off duty, we wanted to go to the beach. It was a beautiful beach day, and as I got in the water to swim, something happened that had never happened before in my life - I floated. I’ve never floated before and the feeling was magical. I floated there looking at the blue sky, the colorful people, and the breathtaking landscapes. I also found a pink rock in the shape of a heart. I left that day feeling worldly, thanking God for the Navy.” SHOW YOUR APPRECIATION FOR OUR TROOPS! There are many ways to join the National Military Appreciation Month celebration and show your support for our active duty military and veterans! 1. Send letters or postcards sharing why you appreciate our troops, and we will distribute them to the warriors we serve. Please mail letters to: Warrior Foundation Freedom Station Attn: Sandy Moul/National Military Appreciation Month 1223 ½ 28th St., Suite A San Diego, CA 92102 2. Hire a veteran. 3. Fly the U.S. flag on your house, car or business during the month of May, or year-round! 4. Encourage your schools, organizations and community groups to participate in recognizing our Armed Forces. 5. When you see a person in a military uniform, shake his or her hand and thank them for their service.