My older sister and her husband, although teenagers in the 1960's and part of the "flower children" who grew up to be more liberal in their mindsets raised two sons, both of whom were Eagle Scouts, attended the Naval Academy and are now serving as Lieutenants (one as a submariner and the other as a nuclear engineer). In 2006 I got to attend the graduation of my older nephew (who when he was 5 years old was the ring bearer in my wedding) at Annapolis. That was an amazing week. I got to see the Marine Silent Rifle Drill, hear the men's Glee Club sing and watch the Blue Angels perform tricks and do a fly-over before the graduation that just barely cleared the top of the football stadium. The picture below was taken by us when they flew past. We were in the top level and at eye level with the blue angels!
Here is Karina with her cousins Blake on the left who graduated in 2007 and Grant who graduated in 2006.
I never considered my family a career military family so when my daughter announced nonchalantly about a year ago that if college didn't work out (which it didn't) that she would look into going into the army. I didn't take her seriously but said nothing. She was not the type of girl to exercise regularly, was not disciplined by any stretch of the imagination nor responsible when it came to her own person life habits.
All that plus the fact that she was barely 94 lbs dripping wet; we had out doubts but last January we bid her goodbye and prayed for the best. She really took charge of herself to pass the tests, put on the needed weight (she just barely made the minimum by 1/2 pound) and "shipped out".
On the left her costume for Halloween. On the right - the real deal.
For the next six weeks we had total radio silence and looked forward to getting her hand-written two page letters letting us know what she was going through and to keep praying.
This past Thursday, April 3, to our immense relief and ever-lasting pride, our daughter graduated from boot camp, able to do 47 push-ups and 49 sit-ups and completing a 12.5 mile march with a rucksack that was 1/3 her body weight that concluded at 3:00 am.
We were unable to attend the graduation but she posted the photos of herself which I used to make the celebration video below. Enjoy!