The Washington Times - June 25, 2009, 12:07PM

We had a neighborhood barbecue this weekend to send my oldest off to basic training in Ft. Benning, GA. He spent a year in college, per mom’s request, and now he is doing what he feels he must do. It has not been easy for mom and dad, but he is a strong and intelligent boy who is filled with a sense of duty for his country.  Two uncles in the Army didn’t help matters either.

Deep down, I knew that this would come. I think he was around seven years old when I began finding the melted remnants of enemy soldiers decimated into my carpets.
 His fifth grade year he wrote a moving story that resembled  “Saving Private Ryan” –his favorite movie at the time.  He also had enemy heads rolling down bloody rivers. I told him that I didn’t think his teacher would appreciate his love of country as much as his mom and dad, such as things are today; this story was best left at home.
 Huge wars were held in my living room—and all across the house— and of course, America’s Army always prevailed, even if the bottoms of my feet didn’t.

Over 150 friends and family members filled my yard to wish him well and tell him goodbye.  A gathering that could only be possible here in our country home with its acreage for a yard. Extended family, coaches, teachers, community members—hundreds of people came to see him off, people who helped get him where he his today.  I know there are kids in the military from all walks of life but I feel his small-town roots, his class graduated sixteen in 2008, have given my son the strength and ability to believe in himself, the confidence to head out into the world and give it his best.

He participated and excelled in all sports. Whereas some see it as a detriment to play on teams of “just enough” my sons view it as—it is up to us since there is no one else on the bench. Short of broken bones my son has played in some pretty tough situations, once even having to see a baseball game through to the end before getting a wound stitched—they won by the way.   I think that attitude will be beneficial in any tasks they attack in life. 

I did not want my son to do this, and I have already been given the speech from one brother.” Why not your boy? Why someone else’s and not yours?”  He is not the first and thankfully he will not be the last person wiling to defend our country, but a mom is and can be selfish.  He is mine. I didn’t raise him to go to war somewhere and get killed.  I don’t know if I have come to terms with those feelings yet, but I do know I am proud of the man he is becoming and I think his experiences in the military will help him along.

And thanks to his rural roots, his village, I think he has a great head start.