Saturday, March 17, 2012

Proud Day

If I had made a list at age twenty of things I never thought I'd do in my life, one of them would have been: watch my firstborn son graduate from U.S. Army Basic Combat Training. In fact, that was so out of the realm of my possibility that it wouldn't even have made it onto my list of impossibles. As philosopher Bernard Williams has written, before you can even think of something as "unthinkable" you first have to think it. So it really isn't unthinkable. Truly unthinkable things are the things you don't even think of.

I never thought I'd get married.
I never thought I'd have children.
I never thought I'd have boys.
I never thought one of them would join the Army.

And so I was surprised to find myself on Thursday at Fort Jackson, South Carolina, watching Christopher graduate from U.S. Army Basic Combat Training, surrounded in the stands by many families with a long tradition of military service. Foxtrot Company marched out onto Hilton Parade Grounds. My son was was there with them.

Christopher, I'm so proud of you for deciding that this is what you want to do with your life right now, and taking steps all on your own to do it. You didn't even tell me you were thinking about this until it was well under way, thinking I might oppose your choice, but I didn't. I was as proud of you on Thursday as I've ever been. I'm also relieved that you're not signed up right now for active duty, but I know that the reserves can be called up at any time, and often are. And if that happens, well, then, we'll just have to pray.

Thursday was an altogether amazing day for me: watching the graduation, touring the base with my tall handsome soldier, and then driving into downtown Columbia to wander around the Riverbend Zoo and Botanic Gardens, and the state Capitol dome, and the University of South Carolina campus. I can't tell you how many people stopped Christopher, who was wearing his camouflage uniform, to thank him for serving his country. I just stood there and beamed.

I'm still beaming now as I type this.


  1. Oh wow! That is incredible news. You should be very proud of Christopher!

  2. Thanks, Mitzi. :) It is certainly something I could never ever do myself, that is for sure.

  3. What a blessing! We are indebted to our military!