Family Day and Graduation from Parris Island
Posted By: tracy eddy 04-24-12
When my son boarded the bus leaving for MEPS in Nashville, then from there on to Parris Island,,a piece of my heart left. I didn't realize at the time, but when he left, I had also went with him. I was there on his first day of arriving at boot camp, when he met the screaming drill instructors,When he went to the barber to get his hair cut off,,I was there,I was there when he took each long relentless hike. When he got to his last month,, I started making an plans to attend one of the most proudest moments a mom can have,,his graduation to become a US MARINE! Everything had to be perfect,,I had to find out every last detail about Parris Island. I researched the whole area. I made an agenda. As the 3 months was coming to an end, I was getting so excited ! I know everyone that I work with knew every detail of my upcoming trip to Parris Island, because I talked about it every day!
The Day finally arrived!!! Time to hit the road for the 12 hour drive!! I was beside myself with excitement! When we reached the South Carolina state line, my heart started beating fast,,because I was just 2 hours from my first born son! When we got to the exit for Parris Island,,you can bet my camera was right in my hand! We had to stop at the gate for security check then he waved me on,,,I was driving on the base!! The very base where my son trained for 3 long, hard months! I was finally there! I was lucky enough to get a hotel on the base,,so after we checked in, we walked around the area to make sure we knew where everything was at.
We walked to the Parade Deck and saw recruits marching on the deck, but I did not see my son's company. I was frantically searching for his number, then a Marine walked up to me and asked," is your son graduating on Friday",,and I said yes,,,,,he then pointed across the field and said,,"your son will be in that group,,they are practicing for graduation",,I told this Marine,,THANK you very much!! Then this mom took off as fast as I could walk across the parking lot and checked out the companies that were practicing,,and I found my sons company number on one of the flags!!! I did not get to see him, but it was comforting to know that he just may have saw his mom!!! As I went to sleep that night at the hotel on base,,my son was asleep in his barracks just a few blocks from me!!!
Waking up on Family Day before the sun came up, so we could make sure we had good seats to see our son do the motivational run! I was finally going to see my son for the first time in 13 weeks!!!! We were all seated on the bleachers waiting for a glimpse of our son,,,then all of a sudden,,here they came,,all marching out,,,,I could barely stay in my seat!!! I got my camera ready to zoom in when they got closer. I will have to tell you,,when I zoomed in on my son's company and found my son , it was one of the most proudest moments a mom could have! When I saw him,I just had to cry! After they marched by,,they started doing their motivational run. They left the Parade Deck and started running up the street. We all rushed to the side of the street and cheered them on as they went running by!! That feeling was amazing! It was like a parade and we were congratulating the new Marines!
We had a couple of hours to wait until they released them to their families for Family Day. When they released them,,all families took off as fast as they could to get to their Marine. At first, I lost track of where my son was,,but then I heard my youngest son crying real loud,,when I turned around,,there he was!!!! He was hugging his younger brother! I rushed to him and hugged him so hard, and yes,,there were a few tears shed. We were finally seeing him!!! It was amazing how much he had changed,,for the good! This young man was more respectful,spoke lighter,,and you could just feel the confidence that he now had! He walked around the base with us, showing us where he slept, where he did drills, the firing range, where he did PT, and all the while,,,I just kept looking at him with such pride! He told me that is was very hard, but it made him proud to know that he actually DID it,,that he is now doing something worthwhile! As Family Day was coming to an end,,(IT sped by),we all got our last hugs from him and told him how very proud we were and we would be there bright and early this next morning to see him graduate!!
I slept better the night before Graduation,,I guess because I got all the pieces of my heart back together when I got to see him on Family Day.We were up early with excitement of the BIG DAY,,GRADUATION!!!! You need to make sure you get your seats early because it fills up real quick. The Marine Band started playing and out marched our Marines! I didn't know if my heart could stand so much excitement in these 2 glorious days,,,Graduation was amazing! You can just feel the pride coming off each Marine as they went marching by. It is very hard to hold back tears,,so let them fall, Your Marine earned those tears!!!
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