This morning my youngest brother Joshua departs for Basic Training in Ft. Andrew Jackson, nestled deep within the central coastal plains of South Carolina.
Joshua will undergo eleven weeks of intense physical training and military indoctrination before returning home for a brief furlough.
I would be lying if I said I was not a trifle concerned… I spoke with Joshua the night before he shipped out, and he seemed both ready and eager.
He was entirely lacking the phosphorescent fire of macho posturing that easily fades under duress, but simmering with a sincere and mature conviction about the task that lay before him. I have to admit that it was a delight to hear him talk in this way, sounding so little like a boy but like the man he is becoming.
My parents, naturally, are enduring this process with ‘bated breath. Supportive of their son’s decision, and accepting the apparent depth of his conviction, yet still apprehensive of what may lay upon the horizon towards this end. With the military comes the practice of warfare; with warfare comes the loss of limb and life.
It will be a difficult eleven weeks… for Joshua as well as our family. My brother has never been away from family and friends for such a span of time. He will be pushed physically and psychologically. I think, on the whole, this is a rare opportunity for him to grow considerably as a man… yet I am fearful for him as well.
Joshua will graduate from “Boot Camp” in May, and I am already making arrangements to attend the ceremonies in Carolina. Immediately thereafter, I shall be escorting him back home to Texas. However, he and I have already resolved to write each other frequently during his time there.
My own hope, especially given the circumstances, is to use this as an opportunity to drive the Arrow deeper.