Yesterday I was primarily involved in family matters related to the induction of Grandson Spencer into the U.S. Marines. At the induction at the Henry Whipple Federal Building in Bloomington, the backdrop was this map of the world. Spencer and about 20 others recited the oath of enlistment.
It was a powerful time, plenty of misty eyes (including my own), a rite of passage. By evening Spencer was on the ground in San Diego and today he is finding out what boot camp is all about, thirteen weeks to go. He’s got his head on straight, and I think it will go okay. And I’m hoping we can be out there when he graduates into full Marine status in October.
I didn’t catch the sum and substance of the Trump-Putin dalliance until near 8 p.m. last night, and read about it this morning Not Just A Coincidence.
The exact same day my grandson took the oath, which includes to “obey the orders of the President of the United States”, that same President is completing a trip in which he has disgraced the United States of America. If every other scintilla of evidence was identical, but the Presidents name was Obama, or Clinton, not Trump, I can imagine the howls of outrage today.
It perhaps seems odd that this writer, an anti-war Democrat who is a Vietnam-era Army veteran from a family full of military history, some of it tragic, should be, proudly, at an induction ceremony into the military for my own grandson.
Not so at all. I was there for Spencer’s pre-induction a year ago, at the same facility. He had decided on his own that he wanted to be a Marine, and has spent the last year of high school in preparation for the very hard work beginning today.
There are very few who now enter military service. Possibly one percent of the American population is active military. Spencer’s Dad, who graduated from high school in the late 1980s, when asked, remembered only about five of the 300 who graduated with him who actually went into the service.
All three of we Bernard brothers were military – two career officers in the Air Force (I volunteered for the Draft, in Jan. 1962, to get the obligation over with). But being an enlisted man in an Army Infantry company preparing for Vietnam was a great plenty of relevant background for me.
My Dad’s only brother died on the USS Arizona at Pearl Harbor; four of the five men from the North Dakota section of land on which my mother grew up, two brothers and two cousins, were military in WWII or Korea. The fifth boy was needed on the farm.
So, this day, as true for many years, I am both in the Veterans for Peace and also the American Legion.
And I can go to a military induction and be very, very proud of a Grandson who’s made a big commitment, and wish him success, and most especially a career that does not involve war.
I’ll long remember two events after the induction. The first was the handover of the iPhone…no such distractions at boot camp. The second was the little book which Mom gave to son. “What’s that?”, I asked. “A Bible”, and gave it to me to sign, my signatures joining others.
Congratulations, Spencer. Safe return. All my very, very best.
from Carole: Thank you for this, Dick. I am part of a transitional generation — from a family with a proud military history — to a mother of two non-military sons, both of whom understand the dangers inherent in our current circumstances.
from Barry: Sounds like he knows what he wants to do and am sure he is honorable in his desire to serve his country. Too bad it is under the likes of Trump and company. Hope he will find something of benefit from his service and not come out of it too badly damaged.
from Greg: Yet another great post, my friend.