I cannot believe this was 4 years ago. This was one of my favorite days ever. I remember the anticipation of seeing you in the sea of white, certain I would pick you out instantly. You had a distinctive walk and the way you carried yourself always helped me identify you on the football field. I watched for that swagger, expecting to see you from a mile away. I was caught by surprise when you passed in front of us. I had been watching for the old you, never expecting the change that I saw. As your unit passed in front of us, I realized that I had been looking for who you were never imagining the change that had taken place. The swagger was gone. Your shoulders were back and your head held high. You were, for the first time, proud of yourself. Of what you had accomplished. Of what you were going to accomplish.
Oh, sweet boy, you may not have accomplished all you set out to do, but you changed lives and left your mark in the most amazing way. You taught others to be color blind, to love big and defend one another. You encouraged those around you,when you yourself couldn’t be encouraged. You led others to their Savior and had the mighty heart of a lion.
The anticipation now is greater than four years ago and the reunion to come will be so much more joyful. I have no idea what to look for when I get there. What you’ll look like, what you’ll walk like. All the identifying traits from here will be gone and in their place, the new, perfect you. Something tells me I won’t have to look long. After Jesus and I get through, I know you’ll be next in line.
Until then, you are missed daily and remembered constantly. We will, with heaven's help, save lives, comfort the broken and support the grieving. We will stop the stigmas. We will press on until the world is color blind, loving big and helping the helpless.
Hooyah my sweet sailor. I’m still the proudest Navy mom of all time.