After finally fully recovering from the excitement, not only from my first trip on my own, but seeing my second-born graduate from basic, I can finally
boast… eh er… post about it.
After our three conversations totaling 30 minutes over six weeks, it was nice to just see him again without interruption. He graduated from the same place his dad did, 20 years ago, but his dad wasn’t able to revisit due do his own military duty. I missed my dentist man’s graduation, so it was great to see what he did too, but from what I hear, the ceremony is a bit different now.
First-things-first – after the first and second days ceremony, you have to go out onto the field to “tap out” your graduate. That means, finding someone who may or may not have completely changed, AND all the men look the same with shaved heads and uniforms! On top of that, there were two recruits with the same last name. So, walking through the whole crowd of graduates and families, all taller than I am, looking at name tapes for matching last names and then looking under their pulled down brims probably entirely too close for their comfort, to find the one you hope is yours… tapping them on the shoulder so they can relax. THE ONE YOU HOPE IS YOURS! Otherwise you’re tapping some random person! Not that they might mind, that means they get to go relax… maybe I should have just “tapped” random people – bwahaha!
(After feeling horrible for several days, picturing my husband standing there at his graduation, without anyone to “tap him out”, I sheepishly asked him about it, and told him how sorry I was for not making it. “We didn’t do that? Sounds stupid.” Oh thank heavens!)
Just in case you were worried – they do the buddy system. Anyone who didn’t have family to tap them, their buddies came and got them. No one is left behind!
Watching the pomp-and-circumstance was neat, and he was excited that so many important people happened to show up to his graduation. Including the governor of Texas and the head of the Air Force.
That weekend ended up being incredibly hot – that Saturday topping out at 118*. And of course that’s the day we picked to go to Six Flags. We didn’t last long.
The San Antonio river walk was amazing – unfortunately I have no pictures. Heat and humidity apparently don’t help old phones work well. Which also made for some comical directions. The guys weren’t allowed out of uniform, so while we enjoyed our walk, we also enjoyed the wonderful people giving all the newest graduates their thanks and congrats.
He showed us his dorms. It was the first time in 19 years I’ve ever seen his bed made. We did all the touristy things. He enjoyed some local go-cart/race track time with his fellow graduates. And lots of food! We just basically ate where ever we went.
My favorite part of the whole trip – Sunday church service. (No pics allowed)
This is everyone’s one hour of rest per week. Where they don’t get yelled at. Where they get to dance, or just relax a bit. They get sat according to their weeks in, different services (this base trains all services), and graduates and their families. Every week they call the groups out by week, service or graduates – and that group sounds off with a big “WHOOOP”.
And then they worshiped. Marines, lifting their hands in praise. Three weekers dancing in the pews. Army guys in front of us, on their knees saying their prayers.
I loved every minute of it!
And then it was time to go.
He’s currently at tech school, where his dad and I had our first apartment together. And then off to two other bases for training before his final duty station, where he’ll be diagnosing problems to be repaired for F-35’s. He’s loving it so far. Well, he loves most of it. No one enjoys a 6:00 am death-by-power point, or 3:30 am workouts.
Here’s the deal though, less than 2% of the US population has ever joined the military. Knowing someone who has been, or is in the military, may not even be something people do on a daily basis. Him signing up, even if he hadn’t made it through, made me proud. It’s not everyone who understands that it takes a big person to give up their attitude; their ability to be in control. That takes a lot of self control – a lot of strength, to willingly give up, even temporarily.
So am I proud – heck yeah! I’m proud of my husband, and my son (and hopefully a few others in the future). They proved just how strong of men they are, not only possibly handing over their lives, but also by allowing someone else to be in charge, at least temporarily.
Plus… they just look so good in their uniforms, don’t they! (Totally not biased.)