By Cindy McCain, published in the Arizona Republic on Aug 6, 2006
Forwarded by YNCS Don Harribine, USN (Ret)

The writer, a long-time Phoenix resident, is the wife of Arizona Sen. John McCain. The couple's youngest son, Jimmy, has joined the Marines and begins basic training in September 2006.

My son is like so many other children from across the country.

He has wanted to be a Marine since he was a small child. He and his brother played in their camouflage gear and helmets. They looked up and idolized men in uniform from a tender age and most importantly, like so many boys, love and respect their father, a true American war hero.

I have hopefully taught my children to respect their country and the government. Never be afraid to ask questions and never be afraid to stand up for what they believe. I cannot tell you the countless hours we have talked about the many ways of giving back to their country. It is and always will be a common thread running deeply within our family.

We are no different than millions of other U.S. families. Our oldest son, Jack, has made his choice and is attending the U.S. Naval Academy. Jack is following his father, grandfather and great grandfather.

Now, our youngest son, Jimmy, has made his choice and will join the Marine Corps very soon. Both of these choices are good choices. I would love my sons regardless of their career paths.

On Sept. 11, when I wave good-bye to my son as he departs for boot camp and all that may follow, in my heart I will know I have done the best I could as a mother, then begin my daily prayers for his safety. No parent wishes his or her children to be put in harm's way.

As for me, I would have chosen differently, if it had been my choice to make. I would have chosen to extend his youth and watch him enjoy those carefree years. But that choice belongs neither to me nor to his father.

The choice was for Jimmy to make. He made that choice, standing tall and with his eyes wide open. He wants to serve his country with honor and dignity and reminds me almost daily how happy he is with his path, all the while reminding me not to worry about him.

I am so very proud of both my boys, as well as their sisters.

God bless Jimmy and all of the young men and women who have chosen the path of military service. God bless all of the families who wait and worry. I will be a member of your ranks very soon. I will do so with the vision in my head of young Jimmy playing “army” with his brother in the yard.

Where did all the time go?