Ed Lombardi 2018

Over the last 18 months I have had the privilege to attend 3 great events.

I’ve attended the graduation of a friend’s son from Marine Corps Officer Candidate School and then from MOS school. And this past weekend to attend the graduation of my grandson from boot camp at Marine Corps Parris Island. All 3 events were amazing.

If you ever have an opportunity to attend the graduation of anyone who has chosen to serve our country and us then do it. Nothing, will make you prouder than to see these wonderful young men and women as they stand on the parade grounds after having accepted the challenge to serve in our armed services and completed their first 3 months of what for some will be a long and wonderful career.

For many of them and their families this is a proud moment in time — a time to celebrate a wonderful achievement.

In some cases, seeing the transformation of these young people from being a kid to an adult is in itself inspiring. If all you have ever seen is what is on television or in a movie then you do not truly know what these young men and women go through during boot camp.

For many of these young men and women this was their first time away from home and so far outside of their comfort zone, that to see the confidence they exude at graduation is just amazing.

In the case of my grandson and a few of the other Marines I met that had done 4 years of ROTC in high school and had been training with the Marine contingent at the Citadel, they said they enjoyed boot camp. But for most of these graduating Marines I met, this had been there first time holding a gun or doing aggressive physical fitness training or spending this much time outdoors.

And yet, not only did they survive, but they graduated; some of them even graduated with honors.

I was grateful for family orientation and hearing about some of the things our Marines were taught. They were taught life lessons that were not taught at home or in school that had nothing to do with being strong or tough.

Ready for this? How about finances and budgeting. How not to spend their paycheck on that new truck.

They were taught about family life. Or not running off and getting married right out of boot camp. Or what it means to have honor and integrity.

They are being taught life lessons that have been missed for many years. I was impressed that they were even given a lesson on the fact that they did not need to use cuss words to communicate.

As a matter of fact, the Marine Core frowns on the use of foul language period. Something that the men from the Citadel said was not being taught or at least not being observed at the school.

When I told them that they would have a great opportunity to lead by example I receive several chuckles. Who knows? Maybe if they practice what they were taught it will rub off on the others.

I am very proud and thankful for every one of our military men and women and I know you are too. These men and women that serve in our military are special people.

In an attempt to be proper, I looked up the order in which to list the following. And according to the Department of Defense it is; Army, Marines, Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard.

Thanks, to all that serve and have served. I could not be prouder to be an American.

God bless and protect you all. 

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