The Army goes rolling along…

Jimmy

Last week, I went to South Carolina for the first time.  And North Carolina, actually… And Chicago.  All for the first time.

Jimmy has been at Fort Jackson for the past few months for his Army basic training, and I went with Tina to watch him graduate!  It was quite exciting!  It was wonderful to see Jimmy again, and fascinating to see how he’s been living and what he’s been learning for the past several weeks. 

After a short ceremony on Thursday morning showing us some of what they’ve been learning, we spent the rest of the day on base with him.  We shopped for candy and treats – all those things that Jimmy’s been without – and wandered through lots of PX shops and souvenir-type shops.  It was really cool to see that stuff!  We also ate food-court food for lunch.  During their basic training phase, there aren’t many places they can go, and definitely nothing to eat other than army-issue food, so I think he enjoyed that. 

Friday morning was the graduation ceremony.  We got to the arena EARLY – 6:30 AM early!  It was cold, but we got front row seats!  Before the ceremony started, they brought in a bus load of WWII vets.  It was so amazing to see the show of patriotism from the spectators – all standing and applauding our country’s heroes.  It was so cool!  And since we were in the front row, the veterans all walked right by us.  They were awesome – one gentleman gave everyone high-fives, many of them thanked US for our show of gratitude, and one gentleman told me, “I don’t know what the hell I did, but thank you for clapping!”  Very cool.  The ceremony was also cool – we were hoping to see all the soldiers in their dress uniforms, but during war-time, they wear their combat uniforms even for graduation.  I’m amazed at how many young (and old – a few older than ME!) people choose to serve our country.  Many of the soldiers in Jimmy’s battalion (over 1000 soldiers!!) were fresh out of high school, but so many of them had college degrees, civilian careers, and even graduate level degrees.  These folks (and their families) are much stronger and braver than I could ever imagine being.  Thank you, soldiers!!

After the graduation ceremony, all of the soldiers were given off-base passes.  We took the opportunity to do a bit of exploring around Columbia.  We found a cool restaurant downtown for lunch, hit the state museum (very cool stuff!), and ate some delicious Marble Slab ice cream.  We also went to a mall (super-exciting, I know).  Tina needed to pick up another suitcase to take home souvenirs and some of Jimmy’s extra stuff (more than you would imagine, for someone who’s been living in urban camouflage!), and we wanted to check out the Build-a-Bear Workshop for a cute Army teddy bear for Miss Maddy.  Found a good suitcase on clearance at Dillard’s, but the bears weren’t cute enough.  But… we did find something else quite fascinating at the mall!

Hurricane

A hurricane simulator.  Pay your money, hop inside, and experience 78 MPH winds.

Really?

Really???

Having walked to & from school in Wyoming every day for something like 18 years, I chose to save my dollars.

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