I am so torn about my son's decision to join the Marines. But mostly I am proud. He has been thinking about doing this for a few months and he checked out all of the branches of the military.

He went through the recruitment process and is now headed for basic training in Paris Island, South Carolina. He's such an amazing young man and I can only pray that this will make him an even better man. Over the next 13 weeks, I will need your advice and your prayers to keep me sane. You can also help by writing letters to "any US Marine" and send them to me at KVKI 6341 Westport Avenue Shreveport, LA 71129. I did write my son a letter to give to him before he left and wanted to share it with you.

My son,

I want you to know how much I love you and respect the path you have chosen to follow. You've had great successes and some disappointments over the past 19 years. That will not change. You are a responsible and caring man and I am so proud of you. Over the past couple of months, I know you have struggled with choices you had to make regarding your future and now you have made a decision that will impact your life forever. I am proud of you and you should know my Mom is so very proud of you. My Dad is beaming with joy to learn of your decision.

Dearest JW, you will soon be leaving Shreveport to join an elite group of men. It will be the hardest thing you have ever done in your life. But you will soon be a United States Marine. Your Grandfather fought for our country as a Marine during WWII. You are his only Grandchild to follow this path and I know he's smiling.

I'm scared as any Mom would be, but so thrilled that you have decided to serve our great country. You are already becoming such an incredible young man and this will help you continue that journey. Know that God is with you and all of Shreveport Bossier will be praying for you!

I love you and will think of you every day!!

Your Mom