Sunday, December 12, 2004

Who Is That Man Wearing Sprout's Skin?

My son is now a soldier. The graduation ceremony was quick and powerful . Hearing six hundred-plus young soldiers recite the Soldier's Creed in unison sent chills down my spine, especially that last line "I am an American soldier" which I could swear made the ground shake on that parade field.

It stormed most of the night before graduation and we were afraid the ceremony would have to be held indoors, which is a bummer because then the troops don't have much room to march and watching them march is an experience in itself. But, we serve a mighty God and he pushed all the storms out by daybreak and left us with a cool breeze and clear blue skies. I might guess that he was proud of our soldiers too.

Sprout looks great and was mighty glad to see us. He had lots of stories to tell. We met some of his friends and spent the day eating french fries and ice cream and exploring Fort Jackson. Sprout was as interested as we were since he had spent most of his nine-weeks in the training area and rarely (if ever) got to see the better side of Fort Jackson. He was surprised to find out there was a Burger King on base. The trip to the PX was fun watching all the new soldiers with their families. They were all so sharp and proud looking. One really touching moment was when we walked into a crowded mini-mall and saw a family standing around a soldier who sat on a bench awe...into the eyes a new-born child he held on his lap, a look usually assigned to new fathers in hospital settings, not mini-malls. But he didn't seem to mind at all.

The one thing I notice about all these young soldiers is the confidence they all have. They seem to walk tall and have an air of self-assurance about them. You almost know that very few of them will not succeed in whatever they attempt to do. Sprout is different too. His words are clearer, his good manners are second nature now. Just seeing him take his hat off each time we entered a building and put it back on each time we came out was a treat. What young man in society does that anymore? It is these simple things that set a soldier apart from the rest of us and make them so special. He opened doors for us ladies and said no, he wasn't instructed to do that specifically, he has just been trained to always do what is right. While these are things I have thought to teach him myself, I guess it never seemed so important before. It is important to him now. Thank you Uncle Sam.

I will post pictures here next week, after we have safely wisked him away from the worst and best place he has ever visited. I hope one day the things he has learned will serve to save the lives of him and those around him.

And you can call him MISTER Sprout.

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