My currency is love.  

I’m a peacemaker even though I have spent 35 years in the military. I am a retired Lt. Colonel in the U.S. Army reserves and a practicing hijab-wearing Muslim woman.

When I am wearing a hijab, I get all kinds of looks and stares from people. Some scream at me to “Go back to the country you came from!” I want to whip out my military ID and say, “I defended you! And, this is my country!”

When I was in my military uniform, people—maybe even the same people that scream at me—came up and thanked me for serving our country. I lived that dichotomy. I have done a lot of self-reflection with emphasis on trying to integrate and am now striving to be a woman of peace in a not very peaceful world.

This is an excerpt from a comprehensive interview.