Friday, August 7, 2009


Hey y'all! Hugs, kisses, yada yada yada...

Well, we got back from beautiful Columbus, GA on Thursday afternoon. As y'all know, we had gone to Fort Benning, GA to spend a few days with #3 son, Phillip, and enjoy his graduation from U.S. Army Basic Training. And I must say that "A GOOD TIME WAS HAD BY ALL!"

I'll swear, the boy man looks like he's lost about 25 pounds, and when I hugged him it felt like I had latched on to a marble statue.

You know, going to a military basic training graduation is something that every American should do. This is the second one that I have been to, and it really instills a sense of gratitude. Not just gratitude for the young men and women that volunteer to serve now...also for the millions that have before. Our debt to all of them has piled high and deep...and can not be repaid.

Something very interesting happened. After the soldiers were dismissed on "Family Day," (the Tuesday before graduation on Wednesday), I asked #3 son what he wanted to do. He said, "Just go see some civilization. Just ANYTHING!" So, he decided that he wanted to go to a shopping mall and walk around. Not knowing the area, we didn't get to the mall he had heard about, but we stumbled upon one anyway.

We stepped out of the car, and walked to the mall entrance. Now, you need to understand that he had not seen a civilian, or had any contact with the outside world (except for a few phone calls, and letters from his family) in 10 weeks. As we got to the entrance doors, he and his fiancee' were ahead of us. And an elderly lady was approaching the entrance, also.

The elderly lady stopped him, noticing his uniform, and held out her hand to grab his. She said to him, "Young man, I want to thank you for serving our country. You should be very proud (or something like that...truthfully, I could not hear exactly what she said...but it was a touching moment)." I thought to myself, "Man, can it get any better than this? Here you go, busting your butt for 10 weeks in murderous Georgia heat, putting up with Drill Sergeants, crappy food, a major life-style adjustment, physical/mental/emotional rigors...and THE VERY FIRST PERSON you encounter "on the outside" stops to tell you "Thanks!"

I wondered to myself, "How many guys and gals have done two, or three, or four tours in the desert...and have not been so fortunate as to run across a civilian that cares enough to stop and show their gratitude?" I'll bet a lot.

Marching in for formation on "Family Day"
(this was an impressive deal)

New Soldiers don their black berets for first time

Me and Phil (I'm the old one with the gray beret)

Phillip, and a good reason for serving

The majority of the 190 graduates that day are shipping along with Phil to Ft. Sam Houston in San Antonio, TX for training as Medics. (Well, at least they'll get a break from the heat. Nyuk) Their school is roughly four months. Phillip will serve with a Reserve Unit in Hot Springs, and his plan is to enter the regular Army when he finishes college. We'll see how it all pans out.

But for now, one major hurdle is behind the man. Thank y'all for your prayers for him.


  1. Congratulations to you and your son.

    Well, I hope our boys and girls are thanked when they come home. Like that old lady, I'm one of the old farts who always thanks our servicemen.

  2. Awesome!

    Andy, you have every reason in the world to just go ahead and burst with pride. Please tell your son that some crazy woman in Kentucky says THANK YOU.

  3. Welcome home, Andy. Great pictures. Thanks for posting them and a hat tip to your serving sons.

  4. Pat, Christina, and Dadman...thank you very much. I will certainly pass along the good wishes to my son/sons, and will certainly tell them that a crazy Kentucky gal is a fan.

    That should keep them MOTIVATED!

    I see Air Force guys all the time here in Bossier City. I "usually" try to tell them how much I appreciate them...I sometimes pick up their ticket at the Pizza Hut...sometimes. But not always.

    I will try to be a better "old fart" like Pat. You never really know what the guy/gal has,or has not been through. Phillip hasn't been through any of the really bad horrors of war (yet). But I saw that beautiful smile ($3,000 orthodontist) break out on his face when the elderly lady grabbed his hand and smiled at him with her eyes.

    I'm gonna do better.

  5. He's a damn good man, and you're a damn fine man for raising him. Good to know there are still some from my generation who have what it takes to be the next greatest generation!

    God bless you both, and your families!

  6. Medica are about the best thing that ever happened to the Army. They are great guys that serve the unit they are with and should never have to buy a beer. San Antonio is a great place to visit so plan on a couple of long weekends there. That last picture is so sweet. May they live long and keep that love alive.
    MUD, COL, FA, Ret

  7. Hey MUD, thanks for the good wishes. I never served, as you know, and have fabulous respect for those that do.

    You should know about Medics. I'll be sure and tell Phil about the free beer. But it'll be a while before he's "legal." (wink)

  8. Congratulations. The future is in good hands.


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