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Thursday, November 12, 2009

Why I Serve: Maj. Bob Lyons

Maj. Bob Lyons was in graduate school working on a corporate survey when he decided to study his father’s office. His father spent 36 years in the military and Lyons wanted to understand how the military worked on an organizational level.

In his 20s, that’s when he really started to understand what the military was about and why his father and so many others served.

His dad was the oldest of 10 and had said he joined to fight in Vietnam so his brothers and sisters wouldn’t have to.

Now, Lyons has been in the Air Force for 11 years and is currently at student at the School of Advanced Air and Space Studies at Maxwell Air Force Base.

While working on his graduate project, he realized he wanted to be something bigger than himself.

“While you’re young and have the energy, are you going to put your actions against your beliefs,” Lyons said.

Lyons decided to join the military and spend the rest of his life serving his country.

“United States is a great nation and great power and what comes with that is great responsibility,” he said.

He visited Normandy and remembers looking at the dates of those killed on Omaha Beach at the memorials. Many were in their early 20s, he said.

“They could have been on that beach for a few seconds or for a few days, but they died,” he said.
And now with two wars going on, current service members don’t get days off.

“We honor them by taking a moment and acknowledging what they’re doing,” he said.

Honoring the service of past generations is an important part of continuing the tradition of service. Their service inspires current military members, he said.

“It’s their stories that make us realize what is possible of ourselves,” he said.


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I grew up in the military. Mom was an Air Force nurse for a few years, dad was a navigator on B-52s, among other things. One grandfather served in World War II, uncle is retired Navy, other grandfather and great-uncle served in Korea and a cousin is currently serving in the Marine Corps. Currently, I'm the military reporter for the Great Falls Tribune in Montana. Previously, 

As a military kids, we moved all over. As an adult, I've traveled all over and moved for work. But now, I'm putting down roots in Montana with my boyfriend. We just bought a house and are slowly but surely making it our home. We have more land that we know what to do with at the moment. Now we're getting a garden started, tearing down walls and having loads of fun at what we call the Homestead.

In a part life, I did PR for the guy who built the Vietnam Veterans Memorial on the National Mall, social media for the National Museum of Health and Medicine, before that, edited two military technology magazines for a publishing group in the DC area and before that, I was the military reporter (among other things) at the Montgomery Advertiser, covering Maxwell Air Force Base, the Alabama National Guard, veterans and anything else military related in the area. And in between all of that, I leave town, preferably the country, whenever possible. It all started when I spent a semester in New Zealand.

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