Your time in the military is going to end. Whether you do 4 or 40 years, it's going to end. The medals won?t do anything for you in the civilian world. People won?t give a damn which branch you were in. You?ll simply be a Veteran. And the one thing that all Veterans have in common?regardless of branch, MOS, etc?is a love for their country. They proved that the minute they took the oath. Patriotism isn?t exclusive to military service, but it?s hard to prove that someone isn?t patriotic once they?ve served. The thing is, you don?t stop loving your country once you take the uniform off. It will never leave you. In fact, once you?re out of the military?away from the BS bureaucracy and out of the norm social culture?you begin to appreciate it more. The one symbol that highlights that is the American flag you carried on your uniform. It?s an example of how you contributed in uniform and the potential this nation has as a whole. The medals are great and all, but the flag is the most important symbol I've ever worn.