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Saturday, July 24, 2010

My Son the Warrior

Monday, July 19th, my 17 year old son took an oath to uphold our Constitution, protect and serve our Nation and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. He is now a member of the Army National Guard.

I am proud but also frightened for this young man, whom I carried within my body, then on November 2, 1992, at 6:33 pm after 14 hours of labor, delivered him into this world then held him as he took his first breath and looked at his environment for the first time.

Dalan is my first born son and has spoken about the military since he was about 12 years old and has been intrigued with WWI and WWII since he was a very little boy. He watched war documentaries with his Poppy, my dad, for hours. Poppy bought him trading cards, movies, and miniature aircrafts from those eras. I believe Dalan’s aspiration to join the military is in his blood-- he’s a warrior, like his Poppy, his uncles (my brothers), and his aunt (my baby sister). I don’t believe you can change a warrior’s heart, but you sure can make a warrior mom’s heart lodge in her throat!

My son’s adventure will begin during his senior year of high school, which is this fall. Dalan will be in the ROTC program and he’ll do drills once a month during that time. After graduating high school, he’ll be off to Georgia for 14 weeks of Boot Camp. Once he completes his training there, he’ll come home for a brief “vacation” then he plans to attend Valley Forge Military College and commission out as an Officer and then re-sign for another 6 years. After that, his plans are undecided. His options are open as his ASVAB scores were very high, he’s physically fit and has set his mind on a Ranger-type program, and once his mind is set, he pretty much achieves his goal.

I come from a family of warriors, as I mentioned, but I also come from a very patriotic one as well. Dalan’s decision didn’t come as a surprise, and like I said, I’m proud as a mom and as an American, but as a mom who has spent the last 17 years loving, nurturing, teaching and doting on her son, it’s still hard knowing I’ll be relinquishing my son to the Army. No longer will my “baby” look to ME when he has a problem or needs help. He’ll be on his own-- independent, strong and self-sufficient, and it gives me solace to know that I have given him those tools and he’ll take them with him into his future and they will guide him like an invisible hand—my hand… lovingly and silently resting on his shoulders so that he knows he’s never alone, for no matter where he is, my thoughts, my heart and my love will always be with him.

I’m honored to be Dalan’s mom--proud that he’s a member of our noble Armed Forces. If his service to our military is anything like his approach to life and his character as a son, brother, grandson, and friend, then America is receiving a very valuable asset.

*Although my post is written in the first person, I did not raise my son alone. I had support, guidance and dedication from Dalan’s father and my husband of 23 years. I am forever grateful to him, because his love, not just for Dalan, but for Austin and me as well, is a daily reminder that I must have done something good…


  1. Congratulations to him on his decision to commission. But don't be too sure, he will always look to you for guidance. It is good to note that you have raised a child with determination and one that strives to better himself.

    If he does go into the Rangers, he will have a tough but rewarding time once he gets through the training. Make sure if he does to post a picture of him in his tan beret.

  2. Pam,

    You have every reason to be proud of your son. Congratulations to him, you, and your husband.

    I wish him the best and know he will make himself, his family, and his country proud. He's lucky to have a terrific mom [and dad] who have nurtured in him a strong sense of duty and honor.

    You and I have been blogging pals for over a year now and have marveled at the many parallels in our lives while at the same time are politically opposite.

    I bring this up to tell you one more parallel:

    My nephew just deployed to Afghanistan last week. He joined the army 3 years ago and passed the Ranger program. While we, his family, are concerned for him and proud of him at the same time, we understand that this was his choice and he is fulfilling his dream of following in his dad's footstep.

    His dad is a retired Bird Colonel and served in Operation Desert Storm.

    So, again, dear Pam. I share the same feelings of pride and a little trepidation as we watch two fine young men proudly serve their country.

    Best to Dalan and your family.

  3. Congratulations to Dalan, and congratulations to you for supporting him in doing what he believes in.

  4. Pam- COngrats! Both to you and to him; it is a moment that will always resonate with you and your hubby. I've always been proud to have served, and would do it over agin with NO qualms.

  5. Your pride is quite justifiable, Pam.

    I signed up when I was still a senior in High School. He will get a better education in the Army than he will at college.

    My son isn't even in high school and he's already talking about a military career.

    It's good to have loved ones and people we know in the military. It makes us a little less jingoistic and a little more thoughtful about supporting that next foreign adventure.

    That is my main criticism of the so-called "neocons."

    Beware people beating war drums who have never been to war.

  6. Pam - Congrats to Dalan.

    Both you and your husband obviously have done a fine job of raising your soon. You have every right to be proud of this young man who will undoubtedly go on to be one of America's finest.

    My hat is off to you and your husband!

  7. Blue: Thank you! I’ll be sure to “update” on his progress and post pics. He has a thick head of curly hair and will be getting it shaved at the end of Aug. He LOVES his hair! So that’s like—WOW. He’s having his Senior Pic taken in his Fatigues with a shaven head! He’s so psyched!

  8. Shaw: Thank you! The emotions I feel are over-whelming. It’s hard to believe he’s so grown-up and ready to embark on such an honorable adventure.

    Another parallel! I’m beginning to believe there are more but we just don’t know all of them yet!

    Bless your family—your nephew, for his service to our country, too, Shaw. How blessed the United States of America is to have so many noble men! (and women)

  9. Infidel: Thank you. As parents, my husband and I felt it was important to stand behind our sons in whatever they chose. It seems, at least so far, that our 13 yr old is going into the Military too. I guess I bore 2 Warriors.

    NFO: Thank you for the well wishes and I thank YOU for your service to our Country.

  10. Silverfiddle: Yes, he’ll receive more than “book” smarts, that’s for sure! I’m of the mind that everyone should serve our military once they graduate. I think patriotism is sorely lacking in our country today. I don’t know if serving would help or not, but I certainly don’t think it could hurt!

    Les: Thank you. I’m going to take a bow because I do feel that my husband and I have done a good job. Not to toot my own horn, but it’s hard work raising kids, as you know, and I’ve worked hard! I still have another 5 years with my youngest so my work isn’t done yet! But if Austin turns out anything like his older brother, I'll give my husband and I a really big party!

  11. Happy Birthday, Pamela.

    Congratulations to you, your family, and most especially to Dalan.

    As a parent of a daughter who has made the military her career choice, I understand the anxieties too. There is always the missing place at the family dinner table, missed holidays, and missed family milestone events. I am especially close to my daughters because I raised them as a single dad without a mom.

    I have watched my daughter grow personally and professionally in her Army career. The extended deployments, four of them, were always worrisome; but there were always BBQs and family reunions when she returned home.

    She is now at the Pentagon, a Lieutenant Colonel. She and her husband are expecting their first child (this week in fact).


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