This week I was looking through the old binder of service documents that I have that I imagine most people who served also keep. I know there’s some sort of digital record somewhere. But it feels good to just have an old binder for my kids to find one day. I was trying to remember something from an award citation when I came across something that I hadn’t thought about in a long time. The events around it are never really too far from front of mind. But the document itself brought back a part of the memory that I had forgotten; that what happened didn’t have to happen the way it did. That people who had a choice chose something for me that materially changed my life. It’s probably the most important document in my service record; not an award citation; not a promotion letter. It's not my separation paper (AKA DD214), though I really do like that one. It’s the letter my CO gave me to release me from Iraq. Without being too dramatic, it’s reasonable to say it’s the letter that saved my family.