Today holds a special meaning for people who have served in the military. For those who haven’t served, it is a day to appreciate the sacrifice individuals have undertaken by committing to a greater cause. It is truly remarkable what these individuals have done for this country and to all veterans out there, I commend your efforts.
My sister, Aubrey, joined the Army a few years back and today I mostly think about her life and commitments to the armed forces. I remember when she decided to join. She seemed so sure, like she already knew it was meant for her. I was shocked at this strength, and it still leaves me in awe considering her personal circumstances. She smoked nearly a pack a day the time.
Time passed and she was off to basic training. My whole family was concerned if she could make it through this stage. All we knew was what we had seen on TV or in the movies. I kept imaging Full Metal Jacket, which particularly unsettled me.
The most devastating moment occurred just 5 days before graduation when my sister was caught making a illegal call home with a cell phone she wasn’t supposed to have. The next day she was brought in and her commanding officer informed her that she would not be graduating, and in fact had to repeat the entire basic training process to learn her lesson. She was completely devastated.
I was with my mother when she heard the news from Aubrey. We only received a short message saying “…. mom don’t come to Texas…I will not be graduating.” There was no description of what happened which only made our minds wonder further into scenario’s of what could have happened. Did she get court marshaled? Did she give up? Why now when she is so close? What could she do to make her repeat the entire training process? We were baffled.
It was really hard for our family to cope with this news, especially when she was so close to completing this necessary step. I can’t imagine the emotions she was going through and how she could keep composure after something like that happening. It was traumatic.
The day before graduation my parents received another message from Aubrey. They were hesitant to open the news considering what they have received last time. We figured it was news of her being relieved of duty or the infraction description. My mother spoke the words aloud and the first line read, “I will be graduating.” My father and mother sighed in true relief and teared up with pride for their daughter.
Apparently Aubrey was called back in and the commanding officer informed her that she would be moving on and graduating with her basic class. The previous threat of not completing basic was just a threat.
Aubrey is currently trained as a combat medic for the U.S. Army and is completing her undergraduate degree before full time enlistment at Clarion University of Pennsylvania. Thank you Aubrey and to all others who have served, or currently serve, for your unwavering devotion and sacrifice. Today we remember and appreciate all veterans.