• Zain Masood Butt

From Hampton Man to Military Man

Wesley Eggleston | Staff Writer

In honor of Veteran’s Day, it is important that we do not lose sight of the many people fighting both overseas and at home.

Senior Hampton Pirates’ linebacker Edward L. Blair IV, a native of Ridgewood, New Jersey is planning to join the military following his graduation, which would make him one of the people acknowledged on this national holiday.

People who make the decision to put their country’s well being over their own are people who deserve respect. There is normally a reason or inspiration behind the decision as well. For Blair, who is a criminal justice major, his inspiration is his family.

His grandfather is a Marine veteran. Blair’s brother is currently in the Navy and is serving in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Blair hopes to continue the legacy that his family already forged and to provide for those who have helped him.

“My biggest influence would have to be my mother and my grandmother. The women in my life have been a tremendous supporting staff,” he shared. “I just want to be able to do my part, give back and support my family. I feel as though the military post-college will help me get that accomplished.”

While talking about how his work ethic would be tested, Blair said, “Yes you will be tired, you are going to have to get up early when you’re fatigued. I feel like with the military, it’s similar to football because it’s highly mental, but there is a physical component. There is no offseason.”

People often assume that those who join the Armed Forces get involved with combat on the front -lines.

When asked what aspect of the military he wants to be associated with Blair said, “The specific branch that I’m aiming for and my specialty would be engineering…I feel like through the military, I could pick up a trade. People go to college to get an education for academics. I feel like if I go [into the military] then I can be well-rounded.”

Blair has also learned several life lessons from being an athlete. “I’ve been playing football since I was in third grade. The brotherhood that you get from being in the locker room or the games, you’re not going to get that anywhere else,” Blair said when reflecting on what he will miss when he hangs up the cleats.

“But in the same breath, God has already been good to me in the sport of football. I would not be here if it wasn’t for the sport of football.”

As with all athletes, football players know that everyone can not go to the next level once they leave college.

With that in mind, people like Blair, who may miss being on the field, understand that life has other plans for them.

Regardless of what happens, Blair knows that his family will support him as he moves on to the next chapter of his life.

While Veteran’s Day already held great significance for Blair, he will soon view this day with pride and honor as those before him do annually.

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