A couple of weeks after we last spoke, Coach calls me to check in on how things went with Casey. We chat for a few, and then he fills me in on his own day’s activities: taking his uncle M, a WWII veteran, to a ceremony where M received Senatorial honors alongside a tiny cohort of other Filipino-American WWII vets. Coach shows me a picture of M, and I am not surprised: even in his 90’s, he is strong, sturdy, and handsome, with the same steady and focused gaze that I recognize in the eyes of his nephew and great-nephew. Another part of the story is revealed to me: M served in the U.S. armed forces in order to earn citizenship in this country. He fought to earn his place here.
It is another remarkable aspect to an already remarkable family’s story of service, determination, and the fight that sustains them. A family who understands deeply that everything is earned and nothing is given.
There could be nothing more American.
 Names have been withheld to respect the privacy of an active duty servicemember.