Around 7:40am yesterday, Nov 16th 2011, my son Recruit David Cunningham having finished The Crucible and 13 weeeks of Boot Camp on Parris Island SC became a United States Marine. Ooh Rah!
As he entered back onto the base after 54 grueling straight hours of being tested to his physical and mental limits with little food and sleep, exhausted, drained, blistered and hungry with an ear infection, he and Alpha Company and his own Platoon 1090 gathered around a replica of the Iwo Jima Marine Memorial. Then my son was handed his Eagle Globe and Anchor pin from his DI, able to finally sing the Marine Corp Hymn and proudly claim the title of United States Marine!
I so wish I could have seen it - but I am also glad for him that he had that private moment with the platoon he has grown to love and work with as one, and with his DI's who have pushed him, stretched him, and taught him. What a special experience and incredible memories they must all have together.
Now after counting months and weeks that he has been gone I count days and hours until I see his face, hug him hard, and kiss his cheeks on Family Day and Graduation Day for the first time since August 29th - that day he hugged me one last time and climbed into a van that would take him away to a sand flea infested place that would change forever who he was.
Proud? I cant even begin to say how proud I am of him. I really thought the tears had run dry but each time I think of him marching back onto that Parade Deck of Parris Island Marine Corp Recruit Depot and how he must have felt to realize at last that the 13 week test was over, the tears began to flow again. And as I think of the relief and fulfillment, pride and thankfulness he must have felt as that EGA pin was placed in his hand, the tears flow even faster.
Yesterday the blonde headed little boy who used to bring me dandelions in a dixie cup became Pvt David Cunningham - a United States Marine... Semper Fi!
God thank you for showing my son a clear path, for calling him to it, for setting him on it, for his heart of service you have given him, for watching over him, keeping him, equipping him, bringing him through this test of honor and character - I once again hand my son, Marine Pvt David Cunningham over to you for your plans for his life, thank you for the gift and priviledge of having him in mine, and for the unique blessing of becoming a very proud Marine Mom... Amen!
Joyful on the Journey