We drove up to the gates of the base at Great Lakes, IL, and were waved on by
the recruit standing watch. We pulled in as there were thousands of other
family members there, waiting to see their loved ones, which they had been away
from for so long. But I knew inside that none of them were as excited as I was.
None of them wanted this as much as I did. So, we continued to pass through the
crowd, ever so slowly, and pulled into the parking lot. We were finally there,
accross the street from this hell they call bootcamp. I saw the barracks, and
wanted to cry. Everything looked so miserable. It's like you could feel all the
pressure, the hurt, the pain that these recruits had been through the last 8
weeks. But it was about to be over, and the anticipation was killing me.

I entered the building called the visitors center, only to see hundreds of
other young girls and other family members waiting. Walking towards the other
end of the building, I found other wives and girlfriends waiting by a
conference room for the meeting. They were going to tell us what we needed to
know about this new life we are or already have started. Entering quickly, I
sat and awaited further instruction. After all, who really cared what this lady
had to say. We all just wanted to see our men! But, we waited, and listened. I
thought she said some very important things, but as some people walked out, I
guess they just felt they didn't need to know. After the meeting, I felt like I
was in somekind of a better place than all those other wives (and a couple
husbands). Most of them just seemed so immature, and so ignorant. I know, I am
immature sometimes too, but I am also mature in most ways, and definitely not
ignorant. Some of these ladies didn't even know their men would be going out to

Eventually, the graduation started. The divisions walked out, and one by one,
they marched into position. There were hundreds of them, all in their uniforms,
marching in sync. I didn't see him though. I was right in front of his
didvision, 275, and looking frantically, but never actually saw him. I started
to panic, thinking, what if something hapedned? What if he was hurt in battle
stations, or they set him back a week? What if he wasn't there, and I wouldn't
get to see him? I had waited the last ten weeks for this moment, and I don't
know what I would have done if this happened. But, I tried to stay calm, and
after what seemed like an eternity, the graduation came to an end, and the
divisions turned and marched passed us. It was then that I saw my husband for
the first time in two and a half months. This feeling of pride and joy
overwhelmed my body as I jumped with excitement and yelled to my mom, "There he
is! I see him! I see him!" I felt so incredibly proud, standing there, watching
my husband.

Finally, they said it, "Liberty call, Liberty call!". It was true, all hell
broke loose. I ran down as did everyone else. I was looking frantically, trying
to see my husband so I could run to him, and hold him again. But, I couldn't
see him. All of the sudden, out of the corner of my eye, I saw him run towards
me with tears in his eyes. I recognized him immediately, and turned toward him
as my eyes teared up also. He grabbed me and held me so tight, as if he would
never let me go. This was the moment we had waited for. To finally reunite, and
hold each other again. I felt whole again, like I no longer had anything
missing. The last two and half months had been hell, for both of us, and that
was over now. It felt so good to know that. I finally realized that I was lucky
one, to have such an honesst, respected, hard working husband. He did this for
me, for us. And for that, I am forever in his debt.

By: Nicole Harrison

contributed by Nicole Harrison
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