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Hector Luis Bustamante Headshot

How Acting Helps Me Honor My Military Family

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The U.S. military uniform is recognized by all, but worn by a select, honorable few. Being an actor in Hollywood, I've had the distinct privilege of wearing the military uniform for the roles I've played in film and television. But once that film director yells 'Cut!,' I know I can walk off set and go back to the safety and security of my own home, and that's my reality. For those serving in the military, they live a different kind of reality. A day's work is making it back to base camp alive. And for military families, there is a perpetual concern of whether their loved ones will return home safely. Being a New Yorker and personally witnessing what happened on 9/11, I have always had deep admiration and appreciation for those who serve and protect our country.

Every time I hear of an enemy raid or an IED explosion in Afghanistan I think about our troops. Where are they? Are they safe? Part of me wants to go out there so badly and make sure everyone serving comes home safely. There is not one day that goes by where I do not think about the sacrifice these men and women and their families make.

My profound respect and appreciation for our armed forces has always been unwavering and undeniable, but it didn't quite hit home until the day I was on my Facebook page, and I saw a photo of my cousin wearing the exact same uniform that I recently wore for one of the episodes we were shooting for my television web-series Caribe Road. The only difference was I got to go home at the end of my day, my cousin can't. There's no Hollywood director to yell 'Cut!' when things get intense in a real battlefield. They are out there, everyday, dodging bullets, risking their own lives for us; for me. There are no words that can express how proud I am of my cousin, my family, and all the brave men and women who serve to make our world a better place to live.

But don't get me wrong, I don't think 'war' is the answer and that's my opinion. When I see and hear people talk negatively about our military men and women, I think it's terrible and it angers me. Our military men and women sacrifice their lives every day to make a our world a better place. And that, for me, has been the driving force for creating a television web-series that allows me to show my support and appreciation to the armed forces serving and their families. But no matter what your views may be about the war, the bottom line is, war affects all of us and is something very personal. So to my cousin and all those who serve and protect our country, you are not alone in this journey, we are here for you. Be strong, be safe. May God always keep you safe! Hooah!!!