As an 18 year old I raised my hand and swore this Oath:
"I, _____, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God."
Being a typical 18 year old airhead I didn't really think about what it meant and my years in the Navy didn't really seem that special. This was right after Vietnam ended. I remember a cousin saying she couldn't believe that such a nice person would choose to serve in the military. I wasn't terribly patriotic, it was just a job.
But as I grow older I feel proud in knowing that I served my country, even in this small way. I helped bring babies into the world and spent a year or two with those who had lost their way. I still carry almost everything in my left arm so my right is free to salute. I sing the National Anthem softly to myself and occasionally blink back tears as I think of those who have gone before me. And I wear a small pin on my favorite jacket which says US Navy, Honorable Discharge.
The fresh faced 18 year didn't know the importance of what she was doing, the 50 plus woman does and thanks her for taking that Oath.