I really thought I’d be more emotional this past weekend. It was Corps Day Weekend. The weekend when The Citadel celebrates it’s founding. During this weekend the Summerall Guards change to the new class of cadets and the Citadel Family Association holds its final meeting of the academic year.
It normally doesn’t take much for a tear to come to my eye. Given this weekend of good-byes, I really thought I’d need a whole box of tissues. It didn’t turn out that way. Friday afternoon, I attended the Citadel Family Association meeting. I’ve served as the Cadet Recruitment and Retention Coordinator this past year and this meeting is when I introduced the new coordinators.
Seeing so many parents whom I now call friends out weighed my grief over leaving this chapter of my life. I had a great time seeing; and in some cases meeting face-to-face for the first time, parents I’d worked with via Facebook and email the past year or so. It was so much fun seeing everyone that I didn’t dwell on the fact that I may not see them again. With Facebook and email, I know I’ll continue to be connected and in touch via cyber space.
Friday night was also a celebration. We went to dinner with two other families and their cadets. My son is a 2011 Summerall Guard from Bravo Company. Their sons were incoming 2012 Summerall Guards, also from Bravo Company. This dinner wasn’t about good-byes but rather celebrating the achievements of our sons.
Saturday morning was the real test. It was the time I came the closest to shedding a tear. In a very formal ceremony on the parade field the 2011 Summerall Guards passed their rifles to the 2012 Summerall Guards.
My son would pass his rifle to his good friend. As the time approached for the exchange I could feel the emotion and the tears begin to well up. Seeing the beaming parents of the 2012 Bond Volunteers as they marched on to the field to become the 2012 Summerall Guards kept me from dwelling on the sadness of an ending.
I refocused on the thrill of seeing the 2012 Summerall Guards perform the Citadel series for the very first time in front of an audience. Last year I was so happy for, and proud of our 2011 Summerall Guard I was smiling not crying. It was a fun day that began with the rifle exchange and continued when we joined the other 2011 families at a luncheon and had the opportunity to purchase our “Summerall Guard Parent” t-shirt.
Saturday evening was time for more celebration, and probably the reason I did not become as emotional as I thought I would over this last Corps Day as the mom of a cadet. We spent the evening with several friends who are parents of graduates of The Citadel. I was the only one there with a cadet still in school.
These wonderful folks, part of the Citadel Ya Ya’s, traveled great distances so we could all have time to visit and catch up. Through this group, I’ve learned that just because your son or daughter graduates you don’t have to say good-bye to the wonderful friends you’ve made.
In a way, it must be how the cadets feel. They may be separated by military service, job transfers, etc., but they share the common experience and bond that no one will ever break. Our cadets wear the Ring, and we share in their triumph and dear friends we have made over these last four years and the heartstrings that will always keep us connected.
Filed under: Marines, Military families, Navy, Non-Profit Organizations, U.S. Army Tagged: | 2011 Summerall Guards, 2012 Summerall Guard, Air Force, Bond Volunteer, Bravo Company, Cadet, Citadel Family Association, Citadel YaYa's, Corps Day, Dorie Griggs, Facebook, Family, Marines, National Guard, postaday2011, Summerall Guard Parent t-shirt, Take your rifles, The Citadel Series, The Citadel The Military College of South Carolina, The Ring, United States Army, United States Navy, USMC