I’m sitting here with tears of pride and joy in my eyes.
When Sarah enlisted in the Marine Corps after high school, I felt this incredible sense of delight and honor! This child, who grew into this proud, independent, strong, secure Marine from the tiny, scared, non-communicative little urchin we adopted when she was just five years old, followed in her parents’ footsteps and made the courageous decision to serve her adopted country – much like I did, and much like her father did.
She didn’t join for a lack of other options. She could have gone to college and partied on like many college students did. But she chose the hard route. She became a Marine, and the sense of absolute pride and exultation I felt was indescribable!
Fast forward a couple of years.
Daniel is now a college student in his second semester at UNC Charlotte. He has joined a fraternity. He’s quickly acclimated to college life, made friends, and learned how to study, write, and analyze and synthesize information. But he wanted more, and he wanted it now.
So today, my youngest child raised his hand and upheld the family tradition of military service. Daniel has enlisted in the Army. He’s the last one – the youngest one – the one who completes this circle his father and I created when we first started this family. He wanted to serve. His last Facebook post says it all.
I remember being a little boy and seeing my parents lace up their boots and walk out the door wearing the United States Army uniform, and thinking how badly I wanted to be just like them. Then I remember seeing my sister wearing the United States Marine Corps uniform for the first time and thinking how proud I am of her. Today, I leave to enlist in the Army and hopefully continue the family tradition of service. Never thought this day would come.
Danny went to MEPS this morning and took the oath to serve his country. After taking the ASVAB and going through all the medical exams, he told me in a text message that the best part, other than swearing in, was when the doctor looked over his paperwork and said, “Congratulations, and thank you for serving this great nation!” He told me he almost cried, and that was the most beautiful thing he said today. It shows love, pride, character, and honor.
Yes, he will finish college. He will ship to basic training at Ft. Sill after he completes this semester. He will withdraw for one semester, and return next spring to continue his education, while serving in the Army Reserves.
My only regret is that I couldn’t be there, but there’s no end to my love. I’m beyond honored to be his mom. I’m beyond overjoyed. I’m beyond touched to have inspired this beautiful child and his sister to strive to be the best they can be.
I love you, Danny!