Ranch Reflections are articles written by students who want to share their experiences, thoughts, and concerns. This is a great opportunity for students to branch out beyond traditional news stories. This edition features senior Hiral Patel’s experiences at a relative’s military graduation.
Hiral Patel – Mustangs Ahead
(LAKEWOOD RANCH, FL)- Arriving at Fort Jackson, South Carolina, a week before Thanksgiving, the base was in high security and the air was frigid. We proceeded to drive to the base and upon arriving at the gate, I had to get out of the car, as I was the driver, and be searched by a security guard. They had to check all my personal documentation and after five minutes, they sent me on my way.
For me, the atmosphere was tense, and the security was high. Being cold in South Carolina the air was chilly and I was feeling nervous but excited to see my cousin. After we got into the fort, we were told to follow the blue line.
There were three different types of lines on the road at the fort each leading to a different area. The blue line leads to the fields where the graduation takes place and where you meet your family and loved ones in the military; the red line leads to all the important places where training takes place and the dotted white line leads you to the restaurants and living courters.
The whole experience of going to a military graduation was remarkable. I learned that basic training is hard, and it is a great accomplishment to pass it.
Freshman John Sirignano attended a military graduation as well for his brother. His experiences were quite different from mine.
“When we arrived at Fort Leonard Wood (in Missouri) the atmosphere was joyous,” said Sirignano. “It was not as tense as I thought it would be.”
Sirignano is in JROTC at LRHS and is familiar with the military customs and roles, so he knew what it would be like in the Fort.
“The fort looked like a normal town,” said Sirignano. “It had everything we have in the outside world like restaurants and a gas station.”
For Sirignano, this was his second military graduation, so he had more experience on what to expect.
“The day of the graduation was exciting, and I was happy to see my brother,” said Sirignano. “My brother is going into the army and completed his basic training.”
Even though our experiences started off differently, we ended on the same note. We both had a happy experience and are proud of our family members for getting one step closer to achieving their goal of being in the Army.