November 19: Miyoko Hikiji – Author, Memorist, Army Vet, Mental Health Counselor, and Politician all in one package

Be All You Can Be, The Army Motto that Inspired a Generation

Author Miyoko Hikiji (pronounced Mee-yo-ko Hee-kee-jee) is a decorated U.S. Army and Iowa National Guard Veteran, acclaimed author, proud mother of two daughters and Miyokocandidate for the Iowa State Senate. Plan on a first hand visit to the front line with a talented writer who experienced Iraq firsthand.

Miyoko grew up in Cedar Rapids, Iowa and enlisted in the active duty Army to support her pursuit of degrees in journalism and psychology at Iowa State University. After completing her initial contract, Miyoko re-enlisted into the Iowa Army National Guard while attending college. The September 11th Attacks on the World Trade Center eventually mobilized thousands of troops across America to the frontlines to combat terrorism and tyranny in Afghanistan and Iraq, with Miyoko serving as one of the many women who was called to duty for both stateside and overseas support roles.

After serving a 403-day tour for Operation Iraqi Freedom as a member of the 2133rd Transportation Company, and completing nine years of service overall, Miyoko returned to her home state of Iowa to write her biography, All I Could Be: My Story As A Woman Warrior in Iraq to help communities understand the experience of Veterans in the military from a woman’s perspective. Listen to an interview with Miyoko on KCCI.


I hope that this event brings a touch of inspiration to your life tonight, because I am standing here as evidence that dreams can come true.  Now they don’t always and they don’t automatically, but they can.  And that tiny word “can,” gave me just enough conviction to decide to deploy to Iraq three days before the end of my enlistment contract, just enough resilience to get me through 403 days away from home, just enough hope to start a book that nearly everyone I talked to said would never be published, just enough faith to trust that God designed it all for a purpose higher than what I could ever anticipate. . . . .

Be All You Can Be.  It’s a motto that doesn’t require all of us to become doctors or generals or astronauts or best-selling authors (though some of us it will), but it does demand that we embrace our individual destiny.  It insists we take our unique gifts and talents, add our hard work and dedication, deposit generously into the dream accounts of others so that combined with a little bit of magic, we can all rise to our very best, to further the larger story, pass along a greater legacy, and fulfill our part in life’s ultimate design, a plan we will never be privy to or fully understand.

But we don’t need to read ahead to the end of the book in order to be the author of our own lives.  We need only enough light for the page we’re on.