Since Bedford Landings opened 10 years ago, each summer and spring break, Karen’s granddaughter has spent the summer at Smith Mountain Lake with “Gramma and Jack.” We are very close and now that she is 18, we have a little story about how proud we are as her grandparents.
When I grew up, my family lived in college communities. I have never known much about the military except from the news. But now I am learning about the Army. After she graduated high school in June, 2023, our granddaughter joined the United States Army. This is a whole new world to me. I have a son-in-law who has been in the Army now for 20 years. All I do is worry about him (now stationed in Syria). But now, my girly girl granddaughter has followed in her dad’s footsteps and joined the Army.
After 10 weeks of crawling on her elbows and belly under barbed wire, jogging with a 40-pound ruck sack on her back, digging a hole, then sleeping in the hole for several nights, learning to shoot a gun, and more, she earned the right to call herself “Soldier.” She is now in AIT (Advanced Individual Training). The Army has many acronyms!
For the next 22 weeks, she will be trained for a position that will become her Army job. Her mother (Karen’s daughter), died in 2020. With her dad deployed to Syria until May, her little (4-year-old) brother is living with his God parents. That leaves a bunch of encouraging and proud family members supporting her. Many of us who attended her recent Army graduation witnessed a precise, controlled, and organized ceremony.
There was formality, parading, music, saluting, and many rules! There were proud parents, grandparents, spouses, aunts, uncles and more in attendance.
The total brigade composed of 1200 soldiers in five companies, stood at attention while the announcer said to “go find your loved one.” A sea of people flooded the field. It was mass confusion sprinkled with shouts and shrieks. Not until she was “tapped” out could she move from attention. But then the hugging and cries of relief began! She had completed Basic!
With pride, I just want to remind those of you who never have imagined an Army (or military) life, that there is a whole ‘nother world in operation. For those who are familiar, I thank-you and I have a growing appreciation for the work you have put in!