A Marine in the Family

August 17, 2010

One of the best simple pleasures in life, if we’re lucky, is family. This weekend, our family experienced a milestone: the commissioning into the Marines of our nephew, Jonathan, as a 2nd Lieutenant.

Jon's parents pin his bars to his uniform
Jon is the son of my husband’s sister. He was the first grandchild in the family, which grew to include Jon’s sister Jennifer, and a few years later, our son. Our kids became good friends, and despite the age difference, Jon and Jen always include our son in everything when we’re together, for which I am eternally grateful. Our son loves and looks up to both of them, and I’m encouraged that kids can make it through their high school years to begin productive lives!

After the ceremony, in an email to family and friends, my sister-in-law wrote about one of the most touching moments of the day: “Following the ceremony they asked the families of those to be sworn in to stand, followed by those still in active service, followed by those who are veterans. Finally, they asked anyone, regardless of political beliefs, to stand if they recognize the sacrifice and dedication of those men and women who serve in the United States armed forces. Every single person in that arena of thousands stood at that point…. I am proud of Jon and what he has chosen to do and humbled at the same time by the heart of service that every man and woman possesses who serves to protect and defend our country.”

Jon at right
The future by its nature is uncertain, perhaps now more than ever. Jon and Jen give me hope for that future. They’re smart, kind, energetic and full of life. That arena of people standing in support of their family members, regardless of political beliefs, gives me hope that maybe we can put aside our differences and work together to make the world better.


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  1. I am not sure whether I should say congratulations or not, Kathy. I hope it does not anger you if I say that it saddens me to see pictures of such a young soul, participating in this ceremony.

    My hope is that he does not go straight to the front lines in Afghanistan... this war has already claimed so many, not just lives but healthy futures, and I have unfortunately seen some of its results firsthand. :(

    Blessings on you and your family in advance for the stress and trauma and worry they may endure in the coming years. For of course it is not just the men who serve who make sacrifices.

  2. C.O.N.G.R.A.T.U.L.A.T.I.O.N.S to your nephew and your family. That is an exciting accomplishment! It touches me as my own son (oldest) is now a Navy pilot (winged back in April). It certainly is a different path and one that is not taken lightly. I wish your nephew the best on his path ahead.

  3. Meredith--It certainly does not anger me at all to hear your mixed emotions. I have them myself. I know that Jon has thought carefully about what he wants to do in his life, and did not make this decision lightly, despite what it may cost. His path is not my path, and while I don't always understand it, I can admire the strength of character that has brought him this far.

  4. Claire--thank you for your good wishes. I know Jon has worked very hard to come this far. Best wishes to you and your Navy pilot son, also!

  5. Kathy - congratulations to your family - your nephew in particular. I have mixed emotions too, as you do, but I definitely would have been standing in the arena with everyone else. It does take much sacrifice and dedication to serve. You should all be very proud of him!

  6. Thank you, Cheryl. We're proud of him, but it's certainly an exercise in letting go.