One of the first things I tell people about myself is that I am a military brat. The reason for this is two-fold: 1) It’s easier to answer the question, “Where are you from,” this way, and 2) I’m proud to be one.
|My dad when he first entered the Marine Corps more than 20 years ago|
My dad, Major J.Ed Christiansen, is a retired JAG officer for the Marine Corps. He served our country more than 20 years. Ever since I can remember, he’s been a Marine–when he’d put my siblings and I to bed, he’d sing the Marine Corps Anthem as a lullabye. I now have it memorized and can play it on the piano. And, although he’s retired now, it’s still a part of him. You can take the man out of the Marine Corps, but you can’t take the Marine Corps out of the man.
|My first and only Marine Corps Ball. I think I was like 10?|
My dad was a JAG. That means, he was a Judge Advocate. He advised officers on ethical and law-based decisions. He was also a military criminal law attorney, and has fought in many court cases. I never had the opportunity to see him fight in military court, but I’ve been to the court rooms. I remember many times as a little girl, going on base with my siblings and mom. While dad was finishing up work in his office, my sister and I would sneak away down the hall to the court room and play “Court.”
|Coming home from Iraq after almost a year-long tour|
There were other perks to being a military brat. We could shop at the Commissary–very inexpensive groceries. We could go on base for very inexpensive bowling and $1 movies. We had military IDs at age 10 and could get military discounts at restaurants, movie theatres, and malls. We even were allowed free entrance into the theme park Busch Gardens one time a year! We also moved all over the place, so we got to know different sub-cultures in America.
In 2004, my dad volunteered to go to Baghdad, Iraq. But, he didn’t fight while he was there. Yes, he carried a big, automated weapon, wore bullet-proof vests, and had to do the run, drop, search outside. But, he was there as a lawyer. He taught Iraqi soldiers how to hold a fair court of law and due process.
|Though retired, he still dresses in Marine Corps swag, even to my little sister’s dance recital.|
Dad retired from the Marine Corps shortly after I got married in 2012. My parents then moved up to Farmington, Utah, where my mom grew up, only 35 minutes from where I live now. However, Dad is not done working. He now uses his law experience as a civilian lawyer. He still helps with some military law, but now he mostly does family law.
But, he is a Marine. He is part of the few, the proud.
So, dad, thank you for your service. You are a true hero. I love you very much!