Master Sergeant Leona Abdullah-Ward
Veteran | 22 years in the U.S. Army
What is the biggest reason that led you to join the military?
The biggest reason was when I got out of high school, my mother passed, and I had a little sister and brother whom I took care of:, one was three, and one was six. Having that responsibility, I was 18 years old, and I worked in different places. However, after a little while, I realized that it just wasn’t working for me because I was going from job to job. So at the age of 25, I joined the military, and I thought it would be more stable and would help me take care of my younger siblings, which it did. When I got into the military, I saw that I was good with fitness, and I enjoyed it; I enjoyed the trip. It helped me to do the things I needed to do. It gave me the ability to go to school so that I can get a better education and take care of my younger sister and brother. I later realized I enjoyed it, and it fit my personality.
What is your perspective on patriotism?
I think patriotism is more than just a flag. I think black people have always been a patriot and have always been here for the country. And I think it’s a wonderful thing to do, but I think it’s more important that we care for each other, and I don’t see an issue with that because all groups of people are, no matter where you go. Also, by going to different countries, I realize that it’s the thing that everybody does, but it’s something that we have been shunned away from doing. I think it’s very important that we are loyal to each other. We have been loyal to this country, and we fought in every war, so it’s time for us to be loyal to each other. I think it’s important that we bring that loyalty within our community and learn to love ourselves. We should put ourselves first. That’s what everybody does if we’re in the airplane and is falling; we got to put on our masks before we put on our child’s mass or anybody else’s.