Gary and Julie Simon
Posted By: Community Manager 06-04-10
Transcript:Julie: 00:00:06 - I’m Julie Simon from Miami, Florida. I’m the mom of Lance Corporal Josh Simon. Josh has always been a really social, pretty outgoing person. Loves to scuba dive, loves to do anything on the water. We would always say his mantra growing up was, I’m bored. He would get bored very easily. He liked to have new activities, interesting activities, and I think the Marine Corps called out to him with that. Both Gary and I grew up in the ‘60s. At that point we were anti-war and marched on the Capitol and all those things. Gary: There were a few negative aspects, or maybe more than a few negative aspects, about the military. Julie: 00:00:48 - Josh tried to enlist his senior year. He was in a mall in St. Petersburg and a recruiter got through to him and he called and said, Mom, I’m enlisting. And, of course, at that point he was in our mind going to college. So he called and he said, can you send me my birth certificate? And I kind of said, come and get it. So I said basically no, you’re finishing high school, you’re going to college, and then we’ll talk. However, two years later, he was, I guess 20, maybe 19-1/2. At that point, we accepted it. Gary: When Josh decided that he wanted to become a Marine, part of my thoughts were, well, what’s that going to do to Joshua’s personality? Is he going to be our Josh? Is he going to be a different kind of Josh? Julie: 00:01:38 - Gary and I were both concerned when he went to recruit training. We were very worried. Was he going to get through the beginning of it, was he going to get through The Crucible, was he going to get through any of it, because we never saw him as being that sort of macho tough guy. He’s not a big guy. Gary: When we saw Josh at Parris Island when he graduated, he was this young man that we had never seen before who stood tall, who knew who he was and what was going to be required of him. It was not a totally different Josh. His sense of morals is even stronger than it was before. He was always one of the most honest of young adults we’ve ever met, his sense of moral bearing and what’s good and what’s not good, what’s right for the country, what’s right for himself, what’s right for relationships. But all that has just mushroomed. Julie: 00:02:32 - It’s interesting, because I think when he joined the Marines, he knew he would be with like-minded people. He loves being with a group of people and the esprit de corps. Gary: The Marine Corps offered the fit, so he had real challenges, he could really excel. And by being in the Marines, he was in his mind in the very top military branch, and that answered that need for him. Julie: 00:02:56 - And even now, every time I talk to him, even from Afghanistan, I marvel at how much of a man he’s become. To me, the most important thing is that my children are happy, able to love, be honest, and keep the family values that he seemed to have and that we tried to instill in him. Gary: And so I learned early on that it was important to support Josh in his endeavors, because he seemed to have a greater sense of what he needed for himself to satisfy his needs in life. Julie: I think he really realizes from all the encouragement he’s gotten from home what a hero he is, and that’s just worth everything. 00:03:40 END
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