I would like to share my story with you. I suppose I will start at the beginning as most good stories do. It all started on June 6, 2003, the day my life would change forever. I met the man I now call my husband that night. We met with two of my best friends and one of his friends. We all got together at a house that I was watching over at the time. It was quite awkward at first and through most of the night because Mykel, my husband, and I were both shy though we both liked the other. As the night continued things got a little easier and we let down our nerves some. Eventually we had decided to go to my work at the time where we could play pool in the back of the office. By this time one of my friends had gone home so now it was only four. We played pool for a while and Mykel and I had decided to make a bet on our game. Our bet was that whoever was the loser of the game would have to kiss the winner, so really there was no winner or loser. This was to be our first kiss and because he is a horrible pool player he was the one that had to kiss me. It was a great kiss, though awkward still because my friend had a few too many to drink and she was watching this kiss and the whole time saying things like "oh how cute" and things of that matter so it was hard to make the moment last. Then shortly after the kiss we had to end our night because it was rather late. The next night I went out with him and his friends, none of mine this time. Again, we played pool but at a public place this time, not my office. We played for a while then we all took off to a park to sit and talk so we all could get to know each other. It started to get a little cold so Mykel and I went and sat in his car and his friends sat in theirs. Mykel and I sat and talked for hours on end. We talked about everything that night it seemed, including the fact that he was to leave for Marine Corps boot camp at the end of the summer, August 4 to be exact. By the end of the night he asked me to be his girlfriend and I accepted. We knew that our time was going to be limited, but at that time I just wanted to spend some time with him. I had never met someone like him before and I knew I would have a happier life just knowing I shared a part of it with him, even if it was only for the summer. One week after this night, Mykel took me up to a place not too far in the mountains from the city we lived in. He took me down a partially hidden path that we weren't supposed to be, but at the end of the path he had sat out two long stem roses; one red, one yellow. He sat on a log and told me to go and get the roses. I got them and brought them back and stood in front of him. I stood shocked because this was the most romantic thing I've ever had done for me and it only got better. He took the roses from my hand and held up the yellow one. As he held it he told me that the yellow one was for friendship because he values my friendship with him and wants it to grow, then he handed the yellow one back to me and held up the red one. As he held up the red one he told me that this one is for love, because he had fallen in love with me and that he knew I was his soul mate. He told me how he knew it was fast but that his love for me was already so strong that we just couldn't wait any longer to tell me how he felt. I nearly died because of how sweet this was. I quickly replied that I loved him too and that I had felt this way too but was too scared to tell him because I didn't want it to scare him. From then on we saw each other practically everyday and fell more and more in love everyday. By the end of June I went on a camping trip with him and four of his other friends. We spent a week and a half together never leaving each other but for only a few moments at a time. It was the greatest week ever. When the week was over we had to go back to our separate houses and sleep alone in our beds which was strange because we slept next to each other the whole time camping. By now it was July, our time together was getting shorter and shorter but our love was only getting stronger. We started to talk about what would happen when he left and how neither one of us wanted to lose the other though we knew it would be hard to stay together. But, we had come to the decision that when he left we would stay together and stick it through the hard times. In the middle of July we went on another camping trip but this time with my friends. During this camping trip he proposed to me one night in front of all my friends around the campfire. Not too romantic for most people but it was more than perfect for me. I of course said yes and we were so happy together for another half of a month. Then the day came when he was to leave, a horrible day. We knew that him leaving like this would only be a test of our love and the strength of our relationship. This three months would be the deciding factor of whether we would make it to the wedding day or not. We were only able to talk through letters and two very short phone calls throughout the whole three months. I went to California with his family for his graduation and it was so nice to see him again. We spent some time out in California with his family before he and I flew back home together and his parents drove back the following day. He was only home for 12 days before having to return to California for more Marine training. We spent as much time as possible together though it was hard because he had to visit with his family. While he was home we got the chance to attend a Marine Corps Birthday Ball with the reservist marines. He had known a Staff Sergeant and we attended with them as guests. After his leave was up I again didn't see him until Christmas time which was only about two months this time but still not fun. Though we were able to talk on the phone more now. He came home again for nearly two weeks for the holidays, which was when we announced the fact that we were getting married and he and I had decided to elope in February and get married on Valentines day. We didn't tell any family about this plan until later. As the day of our small quickly planned wedding grew closer, it was getting bigger. My mother-in-law to be wanted to take me shopping for a dress and so we did. We found one which my mom later bought for me and my mother-in-law bought all the accessories for it; shoes, shall, undergarments, and other little things. Then we made a bouquet for me and for my best friend, the maid of honor. Just a few days before my friend and I were to leave for California my mom and sister informed me that they were going to be coming also, just to be leaving slightly later then my friend and I. So now, my wedding that was only going to be about four people has become six. As the day is growing nearer and we are all in California now, my sister informs me about my cousin and her husband living near where we were in California and we should have them come up for the wedding. So just hours before the wedding we called them and they came up for it as well. So we have again, more people than expected. But, even though things weren't going as we had planned they were going rather smoothly, except for the rain. It had started raining about an hour before the ceremony which was not good. We were to be married on the beach by the chaplain of my husband-to-be's battalion, and a beach wedding in white dress in the rain would make only for a big mess. But, as luck would have it the rain cleared up just before the ceremony. We had a beautiful ceremony and all was great for a little while. It was a time that was to short lived because only two days after being married, I had to leave my new husband and go back home until he was out of his job school. Another month went by of only talking on the phone and finally he came home to get me and we moved out to California together! We thought all was going to be great, we thought we could finally spend a longer amount of time together but, we were wrong. When we got to California he had be moved into a different platoon, a platoon that was leaving for Iraq in two months. We were expecting him to leave at least eight months after we moved, but now it's two months. So again, we knew we only had a short amount of time together so we made the best of what we had. Two months came and passed all too quickly and he was to deploy to Iraq. The day came when he left and it was a horrible day again, like the one's before only worse this time. He was gone for nearly nine months. We had nine months of rarely talking and of worrying for each other. He worried for me and I obviously for him because he was in many fire fights and very dangerous situations. The wonderful day came when he was to return, this time not only as my husband and the man I love, but as my hero. He fought so bravely and courageously for our country and for a country other than our own. He as well as so many others have given a country something they probably never thought they would have, freedom. He is my personal hero, a great man who has done great things and he's still young. I love my husband, he is my hero. I want to say thank you to him and to all others who are like him, you make America proud!