Hello fourpoints readers!
Sorry I missed you last week—I’m gearing up for my own state pageant (Miss Washington) taking place July 6-7. Keep your fingers crossed!
For this week’s blog, I'd like to share a little bit more about my platform.
Joining Forces: Taking Action to Serve America’s Military Families is a national initiative started by First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden, and one that I fully support. My dedication to our nation’s military and their families began when I was Miss Spokane’s Outstanding Teen 2009. At a military luncheon in conjunction with our Armed Forces Torchlight Parade, I had the privilege of dining with military spouses, service members, and their children. Listening to their compelling stories of how they get through deployments and how difficult it can be for them made me realize something: no one fully understands that when these servicemen and women go to war, their families go with them. One percent of Americans may be fighting for our freedoms, but we need one hundred percent of Americans supporting them and their families back home.
I really do believe that my platform chose me. I have no personal ties to the military—no parents, siblings, or close relatives currently serving. I just have an extremely big heart for men and women in uniform and for all they have done for me. When I sat at that table with those military families, I was answering the call to give my support and provide opportunities to them that they have earned—and I expect nothing less of other citizens of this nation.
My platform is about patriotism: loving the men and women who continually fight everyday so that we can go to bed knowing that we are free and safe. By mobilizing all sectors of society to “Join Forces” and provide support to service members’ families, we can put them at ease knowing that their children, spouses, and other relatives are well taken care of back home.
Joining Forces is the reason why I compete within the Miss America Organization. I have heard it said that with my title I have a crown-shaped megaphone—this crown and this sash command attention, and when I wear them, I know people will listen. And to show that I am truly dedicated to this effort of Joining Forces, try this one on for size: I willingly put myself at the heart of the intense physical training our nation’s brilliant Army Officers receive. Three times a week, I am property of Gonzaga University’s Army ROTC Bulldog Battalion—one of the top ROTC programs in the nation. Forming up at 0550 and ending at 0700, I am pushed to my limit during each session: and I expect nothing else. Upon joining the program, I stressed to Lieutenant Colonel Gregory Jacobsen and Captain Kathryn Shaw that I did not want them to go easy on me—they were to grade me as they would the other cadets. If I didn’t pass the Army Physical Fitness Test (APFT), then I shouldn’t get an A. But by the end of the year, I can officially say I am Army Strong—I passed! I very much look forward to my continued participation with the battalion—Bulldogs, lead the way! HOOAH!
I could go on for hours about my platform and why I love it so much—and this is exactly the way that every contestant within this organization should feel about her own platform. Lending support to our troops and their families has not come without hardships: recently, our battalion said goodbye to one of our own, 1LT Mat Fazzari. There have been stories from veterans and military spouses that have made my heart ache and tears fall. But with each hardship, the fire only burns hotter—the need to “Join Forces” for our troops and their families is something that everyone within this nation should feel compelled to do. As a titleholder within the Miss America Organization, it is something that I vow to do, and will continually do for the rest of my life.
Photo: Cameron Glass Photography