Chapter 41: 15th Anniversary of stepping on those horrid yellow footprints
On November 18, 1996, I began a journey of a lifetime: the journey of becoming a United States Marine. Just two days shy of my 19th birthday, I boarded a bus with a group of other ladies who were on the same journey as myself. Once we passed through the front gate of Parris Island, South Carolina, any doubt that I had in my mind had escaped. I closed my eyes, said a quick prayer, took a deep breath, and soaked in my last few moments of freedom.
Once the bus stopped, fear set in. Not knowing what was around the corner was a mystery that I was about to be revealed to me. This was my first time away from home; I had no family, no friends, no acquaintances and no place to call home, except an old squad bay where I slept on an old, metal rack with stains all over the mattress. My fear started to go away once I realized that there were about 60 other ladies who most likely felt the same way I did. November 18 was the day that I found my new family – the roots of my Marine Corps family.
These ladies, whom I am proud to call my sisters, share a lifelong bond with me. Although years and miles have separated us, this title “Marine” will always bring us together. We may not have realized at this time that we would all grow to become friends. For many of us, if it took 15 years to happen. Many of us hoped to forget each other’s names once we left that island, but of course, a bond as strong as a Marine could never be broken.
I would like to thank the ladies of Platoons 4006 and 4007 for helping me become the person that I am today. Thank you for showing me how strong I am and that with a little determination, anything is possible. Thank you for reminding me never to give up. So to you, Ladies, I say Semper Fi and Happy 15th Anniversary of stepping on those yellow footprints.