The True Definition of Beauty
As a fashion and beauty blogger, you probably won’t be surprised to discover I had carefully selected my patriotic outfit to commemorate Veteran’s Day. What you might not know about me is that I am a flag flying, proud American military mama and after rethinking my Veteran’s Day post, I changed directions faster than a F-16 jet in mid air.
Why? Because personally, Veteran’s Day is more than wearing a stylish American flag scarf, or sporting red white and blue (although they are patriotic and highly encouraged). To me, Veteran’s Day is about beauty, which might leave you scratching your head.
So what is the true meaning of beauty? Today I’d like to talk about the precious kind of beautiful that emanates from the soul and shines like a beacon of hope. A beauty so dazzling, it has the power to save lives and inspire others.
I write this post to respectfully honor the memory and inspirational legacy of United States Army Captain Kimberly Hampton, who was posthumously awarded the Bronze Star, Air Medal and Purple Heart. Captain Hampton was the first female military pilot to be shot down in United States history and an Upstate native. I also honor her supportive parents, Dale and Ann Hampton, for their devotion and support of their only child’s dream.
This ambitious young lady grew up in the small South Carolina town of Easley, and according to all I’ve read, had always wanted to fly like an eagle. After graduating from Presbyterian College, Kimberly wasted no time enlisting in the Army.
With a dream in her heart and unstoppable determination, Hampton crafted and succeeded in meteoric rise in the Delta Troop, 1/7 Cavalry, 82nd Airborne Division, unprecedented, at the time, for a woman.
Her mother is quoted as saying, “While most aspiring helicopter pilots in the Army, men and women, choose to serve as Blackhawk or Chinook pilots who ferry troops about the battlefield, Kimberly chose the far more dangerous path of becoming an OH-58 “Kiowa” pilot”.
In civilian speak, this means our Kimberly’s missions were to “actively seek out and engage the enemy”. Due to her extraordinary bravery, Captain Hampton became one of the first female combat aviation commanders in the history of the 82nd Airborne. Can I get an hooah?
Captain Hampton never blinked in the eye of danger, and put country before self. Unfortunately, this placed her directly in the battle line crosshairs outside of Fallujah, Iraq on a frosty winter day.
On January 2, 2004, every military families’ worst nightmare became reality for Kimberly’s parents, when at the tender age of 27 and her second term of military service, her OH-58 Kiowa helicopter was shot down by enemy ground fire in Fallujah.
Yet the tragic loss of Captain Hampton serves as an inspirational reminder to all women that they have the power within themselves to achieve sky high goals and shatter stereotypes like a warrior.
In tribute to her valour, service and bravery, Captain Hampton’s name has been enshrined at the county library, at city hall of her Easley hometown.
In addition, a school has been named after her in Ft. Bragg, North Carolina. The Military Order Of The Purple Heart Greenville Chapter was so moved by Captain Hampton’s bravery that they renamed their local chapter to honor this inspirational patriot.
From our grateful family to hers, our profound and humble thanks to Captain Kimberly Hampton for paying the ultimate price for freedom.
Freedom isn’t free… thank a veteran!