Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Beautifully Strong

For Spring Break I had the opportunity to travel with my family to Ft. Jackson, SC to watch my cousin graduate from Army Basic Training. It was the first time we saw him in 13 weeks and I could not believe how much he changed over that short amount of time.

Physically... he received a buzz hair cut courtesy of the Army, lost 15 pounds and 5 inches, however that wasn't what caught my attention. Emotionally, he was a different person. He was still Alan, but he was more mature, aware of his surroundings and those around him. He held himself differently, and confidence radiated from him, it was almost tangible. He respected the uniform and kept his professional manner at all times. I believe this is what shocked me most, having grown up with a cousin that would pull my hair or wrestle me to the ground just because he could.

On Thursday, the base had family day so the soldiers could give their families some idea of what they had to endure every day to get to this important step of graduation. While we walked around base, he shared stories of his friends, officers and schemes. It was amazing to watch as he became animated and engrossed in the stories, as if he were reliving them.

The entire time we were with Alan, I had my camera at the ready. Upon returning home, I discovered I had taken 464 pictures in 4 days! Out of all the pictures I took, this is my favorite… and I feel I have titled it appropriately.

As soon as graduation was over Friday morning, we drove from SC to VA… 6 ½ hours! We spent all Saturday at a local Go-Cart and Putt-Putt course. We had a lot of fun racing each other in the cars and playing mini-golf boys vs. girls. (Sadly, the boys won, but not by much!) It was bittersweet leaving him at his new base in VA Saturday Night. But we are all so proud of him and his determination and devotion to the Army and his country. He is on his way to greatness and it makes me proud to say that I am his cousin.

1 comment:

  1. Wow look at Alan!! It is crazy to see him like this as a soldier!! You too I think you were 14 years old when we moved to Ohio!! We miss you guys!