This is my brother, Michael. He spent September through December down in San Diego as a Recruit at basic training for the Marine Corps. I'm pretty confident that it was the hardest thing he's ever done, but he's said that he'd do it all over again. I mentioned Mike's graduation in my last post, but didn't expound further because I thought it deserved a post all it's own.
So, meet my brother, Mike, a United States Marine. We're so proud of him!
We were able to go on base the day before graduation for Family Day. It was so wonderful to see Mike again after all of these months away. He looked great! Unfortunately for us, we only saw him from a distance before they all had to head off for a run. We were able to see them come back and then we were taken in to learn more about what our loved ones had been doing all of these month during basic training. It was really neat to see all of that and learn more about their training, but I have to say that the wait seemed way too long since we were so eager to be reunited again.
This is my sister, Rachelle, & I while we waited to see Mike again.
And here is an eager father watching for his son.
(I wish I had more pictures of the others waiting. My Mom and Dad were there with my brother Jon, and Rachelle & hubby Ira and kids were there. I also had Jared and kids with me. We were all so eager to see Mike again. Mom was especially ready. I think she would have run out into the crowd of recruits to grab onto Mike if she could have.)
It was really awesome to see all of the recruits come out in uniform and to watch how they all responded to commands so precisely together. It was so exciting to spot Mike in the crowd (back row middle).
He looked so handsome and it was wonderful when they were given time with their families. Here are some of the shots that I got of his reunion with some of us. My only regret is that there wasn't anyone taking a shot when I got to hug him. Oh well - it still doesn't change the way it felt to finally hug my brother again. I felt so proud of him!Mike with Mom - Mike with brother Jon - Mike with Dad
Here are some other pictures of us all together that afternoon. We went and had lunch with his LDS branch and enjoyed the afternoon's events together and touring the base (atleast the portion we were allowed to be on). ;) I loved hearing Michael recount some of his experiences and feelings about the whole thing. I really don't think I could have ever done what was required of him and I'm so thrilled that he was so determined and successful. He surely was blessed!
Here's Brig so excited to stand next to his Uncle Mike the soldier. :)
It was hard to leave him that evening on base, but it was okay because we knew that we would be able to go back the following morning and see him again. The traffic approaching the base was awful Friday morning and I was seriously concerned that we'd miss Mike's graduation. Fortunately, we made it in time and I'm so glad that we did too.
The music by the band was excellent - I love patriotic music - and it was so incredible to see Mike dressed up in uniform once again.
I'm not really sure how to explain the graduation ceremony except to say that it was AWESOME! My favorite part was the very end when the commanding officers gave their final command to the new Marines.
If I had realized how amazing it was going to be I would have recorded it. Thankfully I did get photos of it. This is Mike & his platoon responding to their final command. It was incredible to be there to witness!
So, now Michael is officially a Marine!
We're so proud of him!
He is such a great example to us of someone who wants to make a difference, loves his country, and is honorable. I loved spending those few days in California with him and this last month while he's been back at home before heading out for more training. The awesome guy Mike was before is still there, but I have to say that he came out of training as a gentleman.
We love you, Mike, and are so proud of you!