As the 4th of July approaches us this week, I can't help but find myself somewhat sad. The sight of American flags hanging from every possible place and talk of fireworks only makes me miss my baby brother more. You see my brother is a part of the Marine Corps and is in Iraq as we type. I worry/think about him everyday and this week I find my thoughts wandering to him even more. I come from a very Patriotic family. My dad always tried to instill in us the importance of country and to uphold the ideals of our founding fathers. The constitution was almost regarded as highly as the Bible in our house. He had it posted along with the amendments on our refrigerator (the place where all things important are posted...school papers, reminders, pizza coupons). So naturally my brother wanted to defend and serve his country by joining the Marines. Now I have to say, with the exception of my father, everyone was pretty shocked and upset that my little bro decided to join the Marine Corps during the middle of a war. Not that we didn't support him in his decision or weren't proud as hell, but just worried of what that might mean in the future. A moment I will Never forget is seeing my brother for the first time after he completed boot camp. The drill Sargents had us all (family) confined to a small roped off square. All our boys came jogging out of the barracks chanting their steps. They paused in front of us staring straight ahead as we all yelled and screamed. I remember seeing my brother out of the crowd and the look on his face. It was like a dream. I could barely scream...my voice cracked...I was so excited and so over joyed that I was starting to cry as I yelled. I couldn't get it all out fast enough. The graduation was a 2 day affair, and that first glimpse of our loved ones only ended up being a tease. They had to go back to their barracks and get ready. The next day they graduated and I've never seen more relief on more faces in my whole life. I have a dear childhood friend who is also in the Marine Corps and was stationed in a nearby area. He came to my brother's graduation and presented him with a Marine coin that was given to him for good luck by another Marine before he left to fight in the war (my bro is supposed to pass it on to someone else before their first tour when he gets back). It was such a thoughtful and meaningful gift. And I felt so touched and honored that he thought enough of my brother to give it to him. I'll never forget that weekend. I got to see the ocean for the first time and it was with my brother who was starting a new chapter in his life.
The Family at my bro's graduation in San Diego
Sister, Me, Brother, Dad, and Step Mom
At the Ocean
I can't bring myself to watch the news anymore (not that I was an avid watcher before) I'm constantly afraid of what I might hear or see. I know myself well enough to know that I would drive myself crazy with worry. However despite all the worry and sadness I feel. I can't help but have a huge sense of pride. Pride in my brother, my country, and our military and their families. I now know how hard it is to see your loved ones get on a plane and not be sure if that's the last time that you'll ever see them. To know that where they are going is directly in harms way and that they are doing it all for their country. And I can't help but feel ashamed that I'm not strong or courageous enough to do it myself. This will be the first 4th of July that I'll celebrate since my brother has been gone and I know it will be hard to watch the fireworks without being a little sad and missing him. So with the rockets red glare and the bombs bursting in air I'll be rooting for all our troops. HOOORRAAAHHHH! SEMPERFI