Friday night as I sat waiting for dinner at Kabob Kafe in nearby Ellicottville, New York with my wife and daughter my Blackberry buzzed. I picked it up and looked and I had been “poked” on Facebook by my nephew, Tom Watkins. Tom was letting me know that he just “drilled out” of the U.S. Navy’s Ceremonial Guard. He graduated from Boot Camp in August and went right to Anacostia Annex in the District of Columbia. I don’t know too much about the U.S. Navy Ceremonial Guard other than it is a highly trained outfit. I kept a picture of Tom on my phone so that every time I opened it to use it I would remember to pray for him in this new assignment. He won’t graduate officially for another eleven days but he’s made the grade and we’re all very proud of him. I hope to speak with him soon.
Today is special for me too and each year I remember that I too graduated from Boot Camp at Great Lakes, IL on the 13th of October at 1300 hours from the 13th Battalion. I led graduation carrying the American flag in the color guard. Just last week I thought of my shipmates and how much I wished I had one more day with them to catch up. I miss them a great deal and the older I get the more I wish that we hadn’t lost contact.