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Just a Thought

I was looking at my calendar the other day and realized there will be a number of high school and college graduations to celebrate in a couple of months. In total, there will be three family members receiving college degrees and three nieces and nephews will soon have their high school diplomas in hand. All this began me thinking that before I know it, my kids will be graduating from high school and then hopefully someday college.

It must be such a proud moment for parents to hear their child's name called, watch as they walk up to the podium in their cap and gown and grasp that high school diploma. And from that moment, so many parents are likely thinking how equally exciting it will be to see their child once again walk across a podium several years later to accept a college degree.

Still for a number of other parents, there is a different feeling after their child graduates from high school. While these parents are full of tremendous pride, there is also a feeling of fear and anxiety. You see, their child has chosen to take an entirely different path; not one of classes, dorms, and lots of good times, but one of service, honor, and discipline. Their child has chosen to serve in the military instead of going directly to college.

My nephew recently made this announcement. He decided to enlist in the Marines instead of going on to college. While his announcement isn't coming out of left field, I think when he finally made the decision there was a mix of emotions among family.

My nephew is a very bright, athletic, and respectful young man who could have likely gotten into a great college, but instead he decided to take a different journey—to serve his country. And honestly, for a long time, I think he knew this was the path he was meant to take.

I give great credit to those kids who work hard throughout school to receive good grades and take part in all those extracurricular activities. It is no small feat getting into college these days as the competitiveness to do so is almost to a point of being ridiculous. You are to be commended and congratulated.

Still, the same credit must be given to those high school graduates who chose the military. These are the kids who will soon be molded into the soldiers, Marines, airmen, sailors, and Coast Guardsmen who we will count on to defend our county without question, without hesitation.

What a life-altering decision for an 18 year old to make. A decision not made lightly but certainly a decision full of purpose, service and heart.


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