Exactly one year ago today, in the cool stillness of a pre-dawn summer’s morning, I drove my youngest son to the US Marine Recruiting Station Bloomingdale. We parked in front of the building, illuminated only by the headlights of my car and those of the government-issued Ford idling in the driveway. My son didn’t get out of the car right away. Instead, we sat in the silence for a few minutes, enjoying each other’s company for the last time in what would be a long time.
It was 5:22 a.m. “I love you mom,” he said. I replied that I loved him too, and that I hoped he did well. With that, he picked up his bag, opened the car door, and swung his feet out onto the sidewalk and into his new life. I watched him take those last steps across the sidewalk, and disappear into the darkened building as the door swung shut behind him.
And he was gone.
He loves his life as a United States Marine, and what he’s achieved. He is good at what he does. He is happy. And I am so proud of him that it leaks out of my eyes when I think of him.
I haven’t seen him since January 4th.
When you read this, all I ask is that you think of him. No need to reply, or sing his praises. He’s a quiet man, my son. Not a fan of howdies or hoopla. Think about what he and the others with him train and fight and do to ensure your safety, and protect democracy around the world. Lift him up in your thoughts and in your prayers, if that’s how you believe. I would appreciate that.
Many of our young fighting men don’t get the opportunity to celebrate even one year in the service. Their lives, or their limbs, are blown away in an instant, or their souls are forever torn into tatters. Think about them, and their families, too. In fact, they need your thoughts and prayers more than we do.
To all of you other Marine Moms and Dads, and other military parents and siblings – we are all in this together. I appreciate every one of you who has ever taken the time to talk to me about our kids, or offer a kind word – I genuinely appreciate the fact that you have my six. Don’t worry – I’ve got yours.