And I’m proud to be an American!

We are not far from Parris Island Marine Recruit Base here in South Carolina. Dave discovered that there was a graduation on Friday, so we got up early and drove over! I’m so glad we did. What a great way to kick off Memorial Day weekend!

The stands were packed with family and friends, most dressed in red to honor their daughter, son, husband, sister, brother or friend who was graduating from twelve grueling weeks of basic training. Marines don’t just train their troops, they transform them! They come away with a strong character and a fighting spirit that overcomes all obstacles, fueled by unshakable honor, courage and commitment.

I know this is so, because I have observed the transformation in my own nephew, Scott Schaller, who has been a Marine for two years. My sister watched her son go through this same ceremony and I thought about her as five platoons marched onto the field to celebrate their success and move on to whatever assignments await them. For Scott, it was Afghanistan.

I love military bands, and the Marines didn’t disappoint me! I was surprised at some of their selections, including Amazing Grace and The Battle Hymn of the Republic, along with the Star Spangled Banner and Marine Anthem – From the Halls of Montezuma. After an hour of marching, presenting  awards and music, the Drill Master said the long-awaited words, “Dismissed” and the same young men and women who minutes previous, had stood like sentinels, now ran to hug family members! They posed for pictures in front of the statute of Iwo Jima, and drove way in family cars decorated with pride and shoe polish!

Happy Memorial Day to Jason Helms, our son stationed with the Navy in Dubai. Good news – Jason should be on his way back to the good old United States in the next few days. We miss him very much and are proud of our family members who currently are serving our country, Jason and Scott.

We continue to be blessed with lovely weather. I took a good one-hour ride on my bike this  morning, with Pooh Bear in the basket behind me. There’s also a nice lake in the woods here. Last night Dave and I walked the dogs for about an hour to make the entire perimeter trek around the lake. I’ve not brought a scale with me so the temptation to hop on every day to see if I lost any weight is a moot point. I’ll just have to wait until December. If I stay with my exercise regiment and plan my food, I should continue with my goal of slow, steady weight loss. I’ll be able to tell with my clothes, anyway.

Our plans today include driving to Beaufort later to attend Mass. The nearest Catholic Church is 34 miles away. I think we’re in the Baptist Bible belt because we’ve passed a number of their churches in our day-trips.

I’m also going to get my hair cut today. I’ve had long hair now for several years, and even shoulder length, but it’s a pain when I’m bike riding or we put the top down on the convertible. I look like a ragamuffin more often than not. I saw a picture of Hillary Clinton yesterday and her hair is quite long now, held back by a headband. I didn’t think it looked so flattering and caused me to consider my own scraggly mess. It looks good when first washed and styled but that doesn’t last very long with our active lifestyle. Time to have a hairstyle that suits our lifestyle!