I traveled to Charleston for what was originally going to be a little reunion with a couple of the Citadel Ya Ya friends. Due to work responsibilities both mom’s had to cancel, but I went anyway. I am so glad I did! I had a fun weekend of catching up with current parents and cadets. Plus it was a gorgeous weekend.
My tradition the past four years when we had a cadet in school at The Citadel continued this weekend. The first stop is Mark Clark Hall for a rest break and a trip through the Gift Shop. Unlike the past four years I didn’t call my cadet to let him know we arrived safely. I began my visits with staff on campus with a trip to the Army ROTC office then the commandants office just to say hello and catch them up on how our new second lieutenant is doing.
The next stop was to Deas Hall to see Susie Maghakian the staff person who handles donations to The Citadel Heroes Project. Along the way I ran into two Citadel Family Association volunteers and friends. The next mailing to deployed cadets and graduates is coming up and I wanted to make a financial donation to help with the cost of the mailing. If you’d like to send in a donation see this link.
I wasn’t sure what it would be like to visit the campus on my own with no particular schedule. It turned out to be a really fun weekend with a few pleasant surprises along the way. Before the Friday parade I stopped by 1st Battalion to see who I might run into from Bravo Company. It was so fun to catch up with the parents of current seniors and other families I’ve some to know.
I shared dinner with two senior cadets from Delta Company. It was such a treat to go into two with these two bright young women. The dinner conversation was very different, in a good way, with women cadets rather than a group of guys. After parking along Church Street we walked to the Charleston Crab House for a delicious dinner and a few fun photos.
Saturday of Corps Day the barracks are open to families and friends. Before the trip I arranged to meet a first year knob from Georgia to deliver a care package to the barracks. During Open Barracks family and friends can bring in food and supplies without any problem of raising the awareness of the cadre.
The next stop was the parade field to secure a good spot to watch the Summerall Guards exchange rifles. My son, a member of the 2011 Summerall Guards, passed his rifle to a fellow cadet in Bravo Company. This year that senior cadet passed the same rifle to another Bravo cadet. It is a very moving ceremony. I wanted to be sure to take photos so my son could see his friends with the rifle they each can now claim. I also took a lot of photos of another Bravo cadet from Texas. His parents couldn’t be there so I stood in and took photos for them.
I checked YouTube this morning to see if the videos have started to appear. As of this writing I found two videos of the 2013 Summerall Guards. One is very short of the 2012 and 2013 Summerall Guards starting out on their battalion run. The second is a little shaky of the first performance of the 2013 Summerall Guards. As I met parents of the 2013 Summerall Guards I encouraged them to exchange email addresses with each other to make sharing information, photos and videos easier throughout the next year. Throughout the performance I took lots of photos.
Between the ceremony and the Saturday parade I caught up with a dear friend , fellow Georgia Citadel parent and Army wife, Jerri Rodgers. Her son is in the Regimental Band and Pipes. The Corps Day performance is a tribute to soldiers from throughout our history. As a selection is played a cadet dressed in a period uniform steps forward. All was going just fine until they reached the current conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. The music was beautiful, but when the cadet stepped forward wearing uniforms my son is wearing now. A lump formed in my throat. Jerri must have sensed my emotions because she reached over and took my hand. The tears started rolling down my cheeks before I could pull myself together. In a few short month my second lieutenant will be in Afghanistan. While I can talk about his deployment and not become emotional, the sound of the band playing a solemn song coupled with two cadets in Army uniforms brought on emotions I must be keeping deep inside.
I pulled myself together and prepared to watch the second parade of the weekend. I took even more photos and caught up with more friends, including graduates who were in town to visit too.
The afternoon and evening were also a lot of fun, but I’ll save those stories for the next entry.