I’ve always felt pride for my country and was thankful for our military for their supreme sacrifice, but it wasn’t personal – it hadn’t hit home yet, until Greg left for boot camp. Greg’s dream has always been to become a United States Marine. The day before he left, I realized I needed to face reality – this is going to happen – I need to embrace this and choose to move forward! It then became very personal.
Just a couple of weeks into this, I realized it’s my son who is training to defend our great nation – it is my son who is doing this for me! Pride for my country, for our military, for my son, took on new meaning. My personal freedom has taken on new meaning. He just finished the crucible Saturday morning, and is now one of the few, one of the proud.
We arrived at Parris Island Friday morning around 8:00 a.m. – drove straight through all night. When they dismissed the new Marines on Family Day, my husband told me later that as soon as I spotted Greg, he’d never seen me run so fast in all my life! The graduation was held indoors due to the threat of inclement weather. Greg told us later that he and the other new Marines (even the drill instructors!) were very disappointed they couldn’t hold the ceremony outdoors! But we were very impressed, all the same! I believe that any mother who has ever had the privilege of attending a graduation, indoors or outdoors, will carry it in your heart forever. I was honored to be able to share this proud moment with my son.
Caren S. Smith