To a New U.S. Marine…

I’m sitting in my hotel room in Virginia Beach, halfway to Parris Island for my son David’s graduation from Marine boot camp this week.

I have been deeply grateful for all the expressions of support from many of you over these months, as I’ve pulled back the veil a bit on this important chapter in our family life. My regret has been that these expressions are scattered all over the place (Facebook, blog, Twitter, e-mail, elsewhere) and there’s no way to convey adequately to David how many people are grateful for him, and his fellow recruits, for the commitment they’ve made.

Then I thought – maybe we can. I’ve never asked for anything like this before, but here goes…

If it’s on your heart to convey your own message, in your own words, to David, would you please simply add a comment to this blog post? That way I can SHOW him, in one place, how many people love our men and women in uniform and value their service. I think it would be a great encouragement to him (and his fellow Marines who see it) to know that people all over who’ve never met him/them are thinking about them, praying for them, and grateful for their dedication.

I’ll add some pix of the graduation ceremony to this post later so you can see what a “newly-minted” Woodruff Marine looks like!

Thank you so much,

Steve Woodruff

[Update] It is Friday morning, just before the formal graduation ceremony (quite a show, we’re told!) – we had 5 hours yesterday with David for Family Day, and it was wonderful – a montage of pictures is below. I/we cannot tell you how wonderful also has been your response in the comments on this post. What an encouragement this is, not only to David, but hopefully to any young person making the choice and commitment to serve our nation.

[FINAL UPDATE] A picture of father and son after the formal graduation ceremony, which was quite a display of precision and pride.

And, in conclusion, two quick videos. First, a less-than-3-minute clip of the final moments of the graduation ceremony for 242 brand-new Marines. Yes, the distance makes it a bit less ideal for audio/video details, but I think you’ll agree that the last 30 seconds are worth the wait, when the new Marines are released to their families!

And, second, ever wonder if a young dog will remember a family member who has been gone for 3 months? Mystic certainly recognized David!

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