Beast Barracks

So my nephew the soldier is firmly entrenched at "Beast Barracks" -- the summer boot camp that begins his four years at the United States Military Academy at West Point. On "R Day" last week, he and the rest of the Class of 2014 were received by the Academy and formally sworn in to the United States Army.

I wasn't at the actual ceremony, but I was able to watch a video of it; I got goosebumps when I heard the military march music and saw the regiment march across the Plain.

That's my sister's tall boy -- the soldier -- in the front row at the end on the left. You know -- the tall one.

It's funny to think that just the week before, he and my tall boy were sleeping until noon, heading out to lunch on a whim, and strolling the beach looking for girls in bikinis seashells. Things are a little different now!

During his remarks at the ceremony the Commandant of West Point pointed out that these young men and women volunteered to prepare for military leadership at a time of war; that really made me stop and think how grateful I am for all of them and their willingness to say, "Here I am, Lord. Send me."

I will ask all of you to send all your prayers and positive thoughts and good wishes to the soldier and his companions for the next few weeks. Beast Barracks is hard, man! It calls on inner strength and a positive attitude when the tasks seem grueling and never-ending; when family and friends are far away, the whole endeavor can seem that much more daunting. I am so proud of this young man -- some time I will tell you just how hard he has kicked ass for his whole life -- and I know that he will get through this; I just pray that he continues to know it too!

Image Credit:
All photos courtesy of the United States Military Academy at West Point