On the day this young man was born July 4th 1994 I stood at the foot of his mothers bed holding him and as I did I looked at my lovely wife and said "this is going to be a hell of a ride" and I must say it has been at least that
This is the entry that I have been waiting to write for quite sometime now and it has finally come around. My wife's phone rang Friday and when she saw the number she "damn near wrecked" as she pulled off the road to answer her phone, as she said hello she heard his voice say "you are no longer speaking to a SR I am now officially a Navy Sailor". At that point he began to regale her with his night long experience of Battle Stations, and how hard it had been but he had made it through. All the things he had accomplished and how when it was all over they had been capped, they were recruits no more. She said she had heard a confidence in his voice as never before, and I wish I had been the one to get that call but I guess it is like when they pan the sideline on any college field on Saturday and the players say "Hi Mom"
I had made the statement before that my sadness wasn't for the accomplishments and growth he has experienced but for the loss of that little boy with the skinned knee or the runny nose, all the way back to him standing there arms outstretched hands opening and closing wanting "me" to hold him.
On the Tuesday after the 4th I had received a letter from him and within this envelope was a piece of paper that has become more precious than any gold could ever be you see written upon this paper was a letter from this same young man this boy who was now without a doubt a man he told me stories in this letter from so many years ago things he remembered from his youth stuff I was should no one but me remembered now here is this young man recounting them to me. I had been what he had thought of on his birthday see his birthday is the 4th of July and mine is the 5th so we have always had that connection and at the same time it has never for either one of us been the ideal time for a birthday, we live in WV so the 4th has always been around here "miners vacation" all the kids gone with their families to the beach or some other place so he never had the big blow out parties because his friends were gone. Now his first birthday away from home finds him in Boot at Great Lakes and with that he thought of me. He called me a hero, and a role model and said some of the things he had made it through were because of the example I had set for him and that had been motivation for him, that one will make you get a little teary eyed to say the least.
As you have read along with this young man's start to an adventure that will unfold over the next chapter of his life and what an adventure it will be in new lands and cultures seeing first hand the things he had read about in the books he so loves, I will from time to time write about the life he has made for himself the direction he takes it and it takes him. This is one of those things you want and wish for for your children and god knows Jarad has never done it the easy way that's for sure but this one is his, his to hold his head high and his shoulders squared and walk proud like a Navy man. Oh I have forgotten one thing in all this rant He is going to get his PIR this Friday he gets to be a part of this with a different Division so now we get to make last second arrangements to be there, just when I thought it was different here we go again, wish me luck its gonna be a hell of a ride.