Wednesday, April 13, 2011

"I am an American Soldier"

This time two weeks ago we had just landed in Oklahoma, where the wind comes sweepin' down the plain...

No, we didn't break into song but I was mighty happy to be there to see The Soldier graduate from boot camp. He has been gone since January with only weekly phone calls and a couple of letters from him to keep us up to date, we were looking forward to seeing him and his new "home".

Early Thursday morning we sat amongst other families anxiously awaiting our soldiers arrival and subsequent release. They were supposed to have a demonstration showing us what they learned during their time in boot camp but with Oklahoma weather being what it is, the frosty temperatures that morning prompted them to cancel that portion of Family Day. Luckily they were able to move inside so we could witness The Soldier's promotion.

After the short ceremony he was released to us until "twenty hundred" or 8 PM in civilian speak. And as I imagined the first thing he wanted to do was eat. His one request was "anything but chicken and rice".

The big event took place the next afternoon. Again we were surrounded by other families and as we made our way into the auditorium my heart swelled for every one of those soldiers. The program started with all 196 of them standing and saying The Soldier's Creed:

I am an American Soldier.

I am a Warrior and a member of a team. I serve the people of the United States and live the Army Values.

I will always place the mission first.

I will never accept defeat.

I will never quit.

I will never leave a fallen comrade.

I am disciplined, physically and mentally tough, trained and proficient in my warrior tasks and drills. I always maintain my arms, my equipment and myself.

I am an expert and I am a professional.

I stand ready to deploy, engage, and destroy the enemies of the United States of America in close combat.

I am a guardian of freedom and the American way of life.

I am an American Soldier.

Even now I get chills remembering how they stood so proudly and said those words.

The rest of the weekend was a blur of camouflage and food, but I'll never forget that moment...

I am the mother of an American Soldier. And damn proud of it.