To The Daily Sun,
Last week, a small contingent of our family flew down to San Antonio, Texas, to witness and celebrate with a member of our family, his graduation from U.S. Air Force Basic Military Training (BMT). We consider ourselves a blessed family to have a military "blood line" that goes all the way back to the Civil War.
My grandson, Michael Higgins, along with 800-plus other men and women received their "Airmen's Coin" and designation as "Airmen" in front of at least 2,000 attending family members. These family members, boyfriends and girlfriends too, witnessed and cheered as some graduates were recognized for exceptional performance. One particular touching moment was when a young woman from American Samoa marched out onto the field, stood at attention in front of the podium and, in front of all in attendance, took the oath of American citizenship. You can just imagine the applause that broke out for her as she completed the oath and was welcomed "henceforth . . . as an American citizen."
Becoming an American citizen and graduating from Air Force BMT was quite the day for her. As I looked around there was nary a dry eye at that moment. She didn't do it her way, she did it the right way and we all loved her for it. The next day we all witnessed the graduates, as the military band played, march by dressed in their blues and displaying one aspect of their training . . . teamwork.
Basic military training is not easy, nor is it fun. It is a growing experience that only a fellow veteran can appreciate. It's special, it's awful, it's great, it's miserable, it's challenging, it's something you only want to do once, but you are so glad you did it. I was so proud of my grandson that I told him he was now my "equal" in this matter.
As I mingled among the crowd of family and friends I was reminding myself of the great cross section of America that was present. A wide spectrum of race and ethnicity was represented here. Probably every state in the union was represented here. Every economic status was represented here. America was here. We were all here to celebrate the cooperative teamwork spirit that was instilled in these graduates who will now go on to stand "in place" for those who served in the past and who, thanks to families who cultivate civic minded children, will serve in the future. Families are the backbone of America.