When you live in a city that is home to five military installations, including the Air Force Academy, you get used to a variety of airplanes, jets and helicopters flying over your house.
Colorado Springs, Colo., is a small city with a large military presence, and living there for eight years gave me and my family a strong sense of pride and appreciation for the military.
It's much like the pride we share for MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa.
Even though we are not a military family, my husband and I felt it was important to teach our two young children the significance of our country's armed forces. We supported the community by attending several Air Force Academy football games, and it was so inspiring to see the cadets march out onto the field before kickoff.
Of course, the incredible pregame flyovers fascinated my kids, but I also want them to know the military isn't just about fast jets.
This summer, we had an incredible opportunity to attend an awe-inspiring military tradition, a Naval Change of Command ceremony.
My best friend's husband, Commander Marc R. Christino, is taking over Training Squadron VT-28 at the Naval Air Station in Corpus Christi, Texas. He'll now have the job of training pilots and helping them prepare for their futures.
Last month, we flew to Texas and attended his Change of Command, an impressive formal ceremony. This Naval tradition was truly amazing to witness.
Hundreds of people, civilian and military, gathered in an aircraft hangar on base to celebrate this event full of pomp and circumstance. Set against the backdrop of an enormous American flag, the incoming and outgoing officers sat with distinguished military guests on stage, while a band comprised of veterans played the National Anthem.
The outgoing and incoming commanders gave speeches and formally read their official orders. Command was passed to Marc, when he said, "I relieve you, sir," and the outgoing officer said, "I stand relieved!"
Throughout the ceremony, I felt a sense of pride and patriotism. Marc is a Naval Academy graduate who has worked hard throughout his military career, and I was excited to see him reach this milestone.
Most civilians don't get the opportunity to attend a change of command ceremony, so I'm glad my family had the honor.
Now that I'm back in my native Florida, I've traded the daily sound of jets for seagulls squawking through the sky, but I still want my family to remember the importance of our military and all those who serve.
I know the experience of attending the change of command ceremony is something my kids will always remember, and I'm lucky that my children have Marc as a role model.
Who knows, maybe someday my son or daughter will be flying one of those jets.
Danielle Hauser is a married mother of two who lives in the Westchase area.