Friday, November 10, 2006

Graduation Report

I have to admit, graduation was spectacular. Fort Jackson graduated 1,113 soldiers ranging in ages from 18, fresh out of high school all the way to 41. Forty-one years old! My stars, I wonder what that guy's story is???

To see all those young men and women standing at attention caused a great swell of pride within me and also a mixed bag of emotions. My mom sat there practically crying; when veterans were recognized and my dad stood, I myself was almost overcome with emotion. My whole family was in attendance as Tim marched past, taking his rightful place as part of the world's finest military. He received high marks in physical fitness, marksmanship, and morale. He can fire an M-16, an RPG launcher, throw live grenades, survive in the wilderness for extended periods, run two miles in under fifteen minutes (top that!), and he wears that uniform with pride.

I must say though, I felt a huge tinge of regret as I watched my younger brother. I was jealous because I never served my country as he will. Some things, as a boy, I was never motivated to do. I never played a team sport, I never played in the band, I never joined the military. I regret all these things and wish I could go back.

My lesson? I will never hold my children back and I will motivate them to do all that they can, all that they want. May God bless my brother and may he find his place serving the finest military outfit in the world and certainly the finest country.

You should have heard 1,113 new soldiers recite The Soldier's Creed at the conclusion of the ceremony.

I am an American Soldier.
I am a Warrior and a member of a team. I serve the people of the United States and live the Army Values.

I will always place the mission first.
I will never accept defeat.
I will never quit.
I will never leave a fallen comrade.

I am disciplined, physically and mentally tough, trained and proficient in my warrior tasks and drills. I always maintain my arms, my equipment and myself.
I am an expert and I am a professional.
I stand ready to deploy, engage, and destroy the enemies of the United States of America in close combat.
I am a guardian of freedom and the American way of life.
I am an American Soldier.

At the end of the recitation, there was a particular emphasis placed on the "I am" of the final phrase, "I am an American Soldier." If that does not make you proud to be an American, nothing can or will.


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