My son is about to enter his final week of Marine Basic Training and I have been doing a lot of thinking about him and how much he reminds me of my father.

Marine photo

I am sending him this letter. What do you think about it? Will it inspire him? I sure hope so.

Dear JW:

I wanted to tell you something very important to help you get through this final week.  You should pause a moment to think about why you are here and what you are made of. My Father, John George McCarty was born on October 22, 1925 in Jackson, MS. But his mother gave him up for adoption to a wonderful couple from Gulfport, MS. Silas Bea McCarty was a barber and owned his own barbershop. He was always the life of the party. His wife (my-grandmother) died when my dad was just 7 years old. Silas died before I was born. He had a heart attack while cutting a man's hair.
I don't think I've ever told you this before. So my Dad, was essentially without parents from a very young age and he had no brothers or sisters. He signed up for the Marines when he was 19 and shortly thereafter left for the South Pacific to fight in WW2. When he came back to Gulfport after the war, he really had no family there, so he decided to use the GI bill to go off to college at the University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. He was on the swim team at the college and that's where he met Nanny. She was swimming in the pool and was kicked out of the pool so the team could swim laps. She was a little miffed by that but immediately noticed the strapping swimmer doing the butterfly. The rest, as they say is history.

So if it weren't for the Marines, my parents would never have met and I would not be born, thus neither would you.  The older you get, the more I notice how much like my father you are. He never met a stranger and was the funniest person I know. But he was also kind hearted and loving. Of all his grandsons, you are the most like him and he would be so proud of your new journey in the Marines.

Love you,