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Eglin Joint Base Command located near Ft. Walton, Florida, encompasses a large contingent of Air Force units, Naval Warfare units, and the 7th Army Special Forces, and 6th Army Rangers.

Most folks in the USA don't live in a Military Town, with lots of guys in uniform walking the streets and jets overhead daily. They go on with their lives unaware of what a Military Town is all about. And that's OK.... but I want to share with y'all what it's like to live in a Military Town.

We see guys in uniform all the time, we have state of the art, high performance aircraft in the air nearby all day long. We hear the SOUND OF FREEDOM when an F-22, or F-35 streaks over the house.... and we read in the local paper, sometimes daily, but at least weekly, of the loss of one of our own in combat in the Middle East. And that is what brings me to the reason for this email.

Staff Sergeant Mark DeAlencar was killed on April 8th. He was an Army Special Forces soldier stationed here in the Fort Walton area. He had a family. In January he deployed, again, to Afghanistan. He promised His adopted daughter Octavia that he would be home for her High School Graduation. He didn't make it. But she went to graduation yesterday anyway. And in the audience, were eighty (80) US Army Special Forces soldiers from her dad's unit in full Parade Dress Uniform. 1920s cocktail dresses

Additionally, they brought THEIR FAMILIES to be with them as well. And as Octavia ascended the steps to the stage to receive her diploma THEY ALL SILENTLY STOOD UP. And when she was presented her diploma they ALL CHEERED, CLAPPED, WHISTLED .... and YES CRIED. Everyone in attendance then stood up and cried and cheered. Octavia had graduated and yes, she had lost her Dad.... but she had 80 other DADS to stand there with her and take his place.

I just wanted to share this moment with you.... and remind you that THIS IS WHAT IT'S LIKE TO LIVE IN A MILITARY TOWN. THIS is the real America we all love.... and I'm proud to be part of it. God bless our men in uniform and their families who give so much.