On Sunday morning, I dropped my youngest son off at his college for his Army ROTC orientation, and he is now officially a cadet in the program. He has a uniform with his name patch on it, Army boots that need some serious breaking in, a ruck sack that weighs a ton, a huge green duffle bag jammed with PT apparel and all kinds of other Army paraphernalia--and I don't really know exactly what else he's been issued; but I do know that he's suddenly the owner of a whole lot of Army gear. I haven't seen him for the past few days, because he was bused away from campus with the rest of the new cadets to learn things like Land Navigation and how to fire an M-16 rifle. There's no denying it: he's in the Army now.
Once my boy donned his ACU's (fatigues, as we old-timers like to call them) and I saw him in them for the first time, he almost took my breath away: he'd been transformed from a boy into a man in an instant--at least in this mom's eyes. Gone was the unruly mop of curly hair and the Mountain Dew t-shirt. And I tell you, with his extreme new military haircut (you may have seen my post about it called "Hooah" on August 11), his fit 6'2", broad-shouldered frame, and that crisp new Army uniform, he looked about 25 instead of 18. And to me, he looked like the quintessential soldier--an Army recruiting poster come to life.
Here you can see how my son's newly shorn head looks when he's in uniform. I think he makes a very sharp and good-looking soldier! (Can I get a hooah?)
My husband and I will see our son at a barbeque for all the new Army cadets and their families tomorrow, and afterward he can put his Mountain Dew t-shirt back on, and we will begin the process of moving him into his dorm and helping him out as he goes through the university's regular freshman orientation. We can hardly wait to hear the "war stories" from his four-day ROTC indoctrination.
I am so very proud of my son for choosing to go through the ROTC program in order to defray the cost of his college education. He--along with the other fine young people in the program like him--knows that the very real possibility of future deployment to a war zone exists, and yet he was willing to join up. God bless him, and God bless all of our troops!
(God bless the internet, too. Boy, I've missed it the past few days!)