Our son's... the Marines.

Tags: HeroStories

The HeroBracelets my husband, daughter, and I wear are for our sons, both in the US Marine Corp.  Kade, our youngest, has been interested in joining the military for years, but until 9/11, was perfectly willing to wait until college was over.  He was a rough and tough but respectful, athletic, smart kid who - as a junior that September was looking a colleges (with football or lacrosse of course).  Kade was totally infuriated by the bombing and in fact, had to spend several days doing class work, etc, with his coaches because he would get so upset and angry (not at fellow students, just by recent events), and they would just be "ok Kade, stop and give me 50" whenever he'd get upset.   He was also friendly with a couple underclassmen who had a brother who died in the Towers that day - sad for all of us. Kade joined on the early enlistment program and left for North Carolina three days after high school graduation.  He has had one tour in Iraq, has received numerous awards and recognition both from time there, and from Boot Camp, special training, etc., and has been made a Sergeant already - something that is fairly rare in one's first tour of duty.  He is active with reinstating a football program at Camp Lejeune, and was able to get gear for that, and other events. Kade will be home for the 4th of July this summer and is in CA again right now, preparing for a second deployment in the early fall.

Shaun, our oldest son, was at Muskingum College in Ohio when 9/11 occurred.  Like Kade, he was equally upset.  I don't think I'll ever forget the sound of his voice when he was able to get a hold of us to say he was coming home, and us telling him "no - stay there - no one's going to bomb southern Ohio".  The college president had called him, and a couple other NY students to her office to let them know what was going on as soon as it happened (if you're from NY, folk tend to think "the city" although we are very close to Buffalo.  On the other hand, Buffalo would be a prime target after NYC due to the lakes, and Canada)  And, my husband was born and raised in NYC, with friends and relatives still there - we were all concerned about them.  Like his little brother, Shaun enlisted shortly after college graduation and left for Boot Camp about the time Kade was finished. Shaun excelled at Parris Island as well, but was hospitalized there  (unbeknown to us; since he was 21 he could refuse to have us called and he didn't want to 'worry us')  and despite the doctors, his DI, and the commander's wishes, participated fully in the Crucible with an infected leg and open wound (and was one of the first finished) and encouraged others to finish with him: "come on, you gonna let a gimp get the best of you...) - he received several awards as well, including a special one for skills with others and determination.  He continued to excel with paratrooper training and is now in Iraq ('bored', he says, at Al Asad - "good" says his parents!, "be bored!) and hopefully will be home in time to cross paths with Kade, before he leaves again.  His biggest issue, however, is that "there is NO way I am going to salute my little brother!", so we hope for both their sakes that he makes Sergeant as well!

We are very proud of both our sons: they were NOT raised to be military fodder, or even particularly patriotic but to be proud of who and what they are.  This they have taken to heart - they believe in this country, and in the rights of all people, regardless of what others say - the bottom line for both of them is what is right and true - that no one comes onto our field and takes the game (or whatever that phrase was), that to simply ignore over 3000 people dying for no reason would be wrong.

Deb Milne-O'Br