If we truly want love, unity and inclusion, we need to start acting and speaking those words.

As I watched the events of the day unfold, and especially reading the comments of some of the people that I know that are on social media, I’m truthfully surprised and saddened. Many boasted and talked about inclusion and diversity, yet spew hatred to those that do not think like them (meaning didn’t vote like them).

In my close to 30 years of military service (I'm now retired), my main concern with the person standing next to me either in our headquarters office or in a deployment was: do they know their job and can they save my life or the life of my shipmates, if needed? I’m positive they thought the same way. I cannot speak about all my fellow service members, but I can say with almost complete certainty that they didn’t think, “he/she is a (insert political party), I don’t trust them to save my life.”

I was fortunate enough to serve under five presidents, three republicans (14 years) and 2 democrats (16 years). In all my years in the military serving with people of all walks of life from this country to include: race, economic status, gender and nationality, and serving under both parties, I’ve never seen the extreme vitriol of hate that I have seen this last year and now amplified today.

Whether or not I liked the Commander-in-Chief, I respected the office that they represented. Furthermore, I prayed diligently for them. As service-members, we are very much aware that this is the person that can keep our country and allies at peace or send us to war. The President, Vice President and Congress, are the people that decide if this country can bare signing a check inked with blood with the names of our military members. You better believe I was praying for the office that person represented, regardless of political party affiliation. President Biden, I’m praying for you and your family.

Vice President Harris, Ma’am, I’m praying for you as well. I pray that you are covered in wisdom, health, protection and truth and that the people that serves with you and around you, serve you with dignity and respect. As a Hispanic woman, I know the struggles that being a first represents either for myself or watching my colleagues be a first as well. I had the amazing honor of personally knowing and being mentored by the “first” 4-Star female selected to be an Admiral in the Navy, ADM Michelle Howard. She was not only the first women appointed to this position, she was also black. For those that believe that women are not breaking the proverbial “glass ceiling,” truly look around to women in the military.

Being in the military, I have seen many women from all walks of life be the “first,” at many things, so their triumphs and struggles are not foreign to me. Although sometimes slow coming, women in the military have achieved many firsts and climbed to the pinnacle of their chosen career field.

Madam Vice President, my respect for you, and (by the way), I love your personal classy yet humble style, I can relate to you! I applaud you for being the strong woman that you are, and yet human; however, still moving forward regardless of circumstances and life challenges.

If we truly want love, unity and inclusion, we need to start acting and speaking those words. Out of the heart, the mouth speaks! ~Frances

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