I've always known that I was thankful for the people who serve in the US military, but have an all-new, personal respect for these men and women. What makes me so newly and intimately aware of my appreciation?? I'll tell you....my "son," the soldier!
Josh came into my life so naturally that I really didn't ever notice that he was new. He was Charles' little league teammate years ago, and played golf with him over the years. His grandpa is a firefighter in the Wallace area, so I've known him through going to meetings and suppers with Chuck.
Last spring, he started showing up at our house and made himself at home...that is a good thing! He hung out with all three of the children after school and on the weekends. We went out to eat together, played cards, talked, and went to ballgames together. He helped us all through a tough time and stuck with us as we sorted things out. He just fit right in....
On June 30, 2010, Josh went to Fort Benning, Georgia, for basic training for the US Army. I promised him before he left that we'd come to his graduation....so at 7:30 p.m. yesterday, we left the volleyball match in Cheraw and headed toward Georgia, a trip that ended at 2:30 a.m. in a Phenix City, Alabama, motel.
His graduation took place this morning at 9:00. The ceremony was very timed, structured, and moving. Josh and 400 other young men marched in formation, recited an oath, sang the Army song, and were then declared warriors....American soldiers!
The children and I could hardly wait to get onto the parade grounds to see Josh up close. His grandparents, daddy, step-mama, and little brother were there also. We enjoyed spending the rest of the day with him and his family. We ate, visited and talked, and the kids swam in the motel pool. It was a wonderful day!
Even though it was tough on us to tell him good-bye, and even tougher on his family, we all know that he is fulfilling his dream of being a soldier. As he grows both physically and mentally, he is serving his country and and making a life and a career for himself.
I love you Josh, and I'm so very, very proud of you. I'm very thankful for your life, and for the decision that you and all of the others made to serve your country. Even though we miss you terribly right now, we look forward to seeing you at the first of November. Work hard in Missouri, learn a lot, and continue to make us proud!