This past week, I had one of life’s moments that I will never forget. My son, David, graduated from the Air Force, so we attended the four-day festivities at Lackland AFB in San Antonio, Texas.
The celebration included the Airman Run, the Retreat Ceremony, the Coin Ceremony, and the Parade Ceremony. While the pomp and circumstance was all proud parents could ask for, the moment I observed was a quiet unassuming one.
During a private family moment late in the day, David sat with me, my husband, and our daughter away from the crowd in the empty bleachers. We enjoyed his animated stories about his first arrival as an anxious 0-Weeker (The group is also known as Rainbow Flight since they still wore their street clothes) and as a fearful early-Weeker (known as Baby Flight) with their endless running, kitchen duty, and lack of sleep.
All of a sudden, preamble music sounded over the P.A. system. David said, “Excuse me, mum.” He stood up, faced the center of the base toward the flag, snapped to attention, and saluted just as the Star Spangled Banner started playing.
As I observed, I remembered him as a newborn. I had wondered back then what kind of man he would become. I thought about his birthdays, his high school graduation, and all the other firsts. The flood of emotions overwhelmed me, and I cried.
As a writer, I strive to project integrity, loyalty, bravery, honor, and selflessness into the heroes and heroines in my novels. That day, I saw those traits first-hand in my son. My children are my heroes. They inspire me.