The weather was wonderful when the plane landed, around 8:30 Wednesday night. Thursday morning, I woke up to this.
Such a beautiful California sunrise! There wasn't a lot of time, as festivities at MCRD San Diego started pretty early in the morning. We didn't realize what a day we were in for.
The first thing I did upon arriving on base was visit the museum's gift shop and stand in line to purchase two t-shirts, one of which I am currently wearing. Both stating that I'm the proud aunt of a US Marine. (enter heart swelling here)
After a bit of exploring, the guy running the show (I don't remember if he is actually a drill instructor or not) gave a speech and told us what to do, what to expect, what was allowed and what was not. STAY OFF THE GRASS!!!
Then, it was time to stand and wait. Wait for what? I already have tears in my eyes just thinking about it. They call it a "Motivational Run". You'll see why in a moment. USMC 2nd Battalion Golf Company recruit count started at 500. It ended with 480. I was surprised there were only 20 that didn't make it. The following video is 480 graduating Marines, and their loved ones getting to see them for the first time in 3 months, as a completely different person.
I cannot watch these videos without crying like a baby with colic. No joke. I don't think anyone realizes or understands what a HUGE deal this is until they go and see it for themselves. This second video is the second pass after they've made their way around the circle. The video is a little shaky because by this time I was, well, shaky. And jumping up and down!
After the motivational run, there was still another 2 hours or so to wait before we got to see our Marines, once Liberty Formation was done.
FINALLY I got to hug him. And I wouldn't let go. I really wouldn't. Words cannot express the amount of pride you feel when hugging them for the first time. This is USMC 2nd Battalion Golf Company Platoon 2147 (my nephew is right behind the drill instructor).
(My hair is pink again now!)
After Liberty Formation, we got to spend the day together, from 1pm until around 4:30. We ate, talked, walked around and shopped. Then he went back to his Marine bootcamp life and we went back to our tourist lives.
The next morning we were tired, but couldn't wait to see the ceremony. There was a full parade, complete with the Marine Corps band, and even the little "Devil Dog" herself, a bull dog with a higher rank than my nephew!
The ceremony itself didn't last very long. I have this last video. It was SUPPOSED to be the recruits officially graduating by receiving their final orders from their drill instructors. Unfortunately I pushed the button on my phone a little late. So all you hear is the graduates' response, and then see me running up to him. But I'm still posting it anyway. :o) *insert more tears here*
After graduation we had tentative plans to go to Sea World but that got canceled really quickly when we all realized how tired we were. Instead, we decided to take a walk to Old Town, which was adorable.
After seeing a few sights of Old Town, we decided to take a hike up a cluster of hills in a residential neighborhood just behind the park. This was our reward.
A beautiful San Diego sunset!
Unfortunately, I didn't see the ocean except from the plane, but I'm okay with that.
All in all, it was an excellent trip. I'm so amazed and so proud for what Marcus has accomplished. If you don't know, Marine Corps has the most difficult bootcamp training of any of the US military. Just hearing about "The Crucible" is enough to make you cry. Much less to go through it.
There's my trip in a nutshell. If nothing else you got to see some pretty California sun.