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I am a Denver-based writer, travel lover, and author of The Drive North and Destination Paranormal. I have several other books in the works, including fiction.

Visiting the Air Force Academy Chapel

When I was getting close to graduating from high school my father took me to a bunch of these college fairs. At most of them there were military recruiters from all of the different branches. I had no desire to enlist, but I knew he really wanted it for me. He claims it was to get me in better shape, but I think it was probably more of a case to have the family military tradition carry on. It never happened and instead I went my own way. But as I stood on the grounds of the Air Force Academy I couldn’t help but wonder about things.
Shadows were painted on the pavement by the setting sun as I stood in front of the chapel building on campus, which is designed to appear to be made from jet wings. I had seen it so many times before in pictures and on television that I had anticipated seeing it just as any other building, but this wasn’t the case. It was architectural eye candy and took my time seeing how long it would take me to get to the center; I’m not sure I did in my visit, but I certainly left with a feeling patriotism.
Patriotic feelings are few and far between for me generally. This isn’t for any simple political reason or because I don’t love my country, I just never have my cup spill over with such feelings. But as I wandered back out from the beautiful chapel building the national anthem began on the campus loudspeakers and I stopped, took off my hat, and bowed my head as airmen around me saluted.
I had no idea that my first visit to a church of any kind in nine years concurred with the attack at Ft. Hood in Texas, or that my feelings of pride in my country would be brought to the surface as so many suffered. When I arrived back home and read about this I felt a great pain of sadness for all of those involved and certainly wondered if my visit to such a magnificient building on a military campus was more than coincidence. I certainly had food-for-thought moment as I read about the horrible events.
The chapel is free and open to all visitors. Four denominations – Protestant, Catholic (left), Jewish and Buddhist – are represented within it’s welcoming walls. And in them, not knowing what was going on outside, I felt content, yet interested, with the thought of what my father tried guide me to do so long ago. I still don’t believe it would’ve been the right decision for me, but now I know and certainly have a better appreciation for things after visiting both the academy and its chapel on a day that I’ll always remember where I was when.
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