"I,  , do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice.

So help me God."

I remember that day.  The words were projected onto a white cinder block wall for us to read.  To the right of the screen there was an American flag in a weighted stand.  The hardware and the eagle on the staff were gold.  Someone must have had a detail to polish the hardware because it literally gleamed.  There was a harsh overhead spotlight that shone only on the flag.  It looked to me to be majestic; regal.  The walls, except where the words were projected were painted the neutral colors of government buildings everywhere.  The brown painted doors were the heavy steel industrial type and permanently propped open. .

The rest of the day was a whirlwind of tests, physical exams and paper work.  I don’t remember what happened next but those few minutes I will never forget. 

I read the words on the screen over and over again while we waited for everyone to process through into the room.  I marveled at the exacting weight and placement of each word.  Each word has meaning.

In all there were about 40 of us packed into that small cinderblock room.  

It was one of the first times in my life that I was truly lonely.  I took an oath.  An oath that changed every second of my life afterwards. An oath that bound me to my country and I was the only one  there to see it.  My words were lost in the words of 40 others.  Only I heard them.  Just me…

and God.

The Oath

6 thoughts on “The Oath

  • February 27, 2011 at 12:16 am

    Too bad the guy infesting the White House doesn’t take his oath seriously!!

  • February 27, 2011 at 2:31 am

    I remember having the same feelings — kind of gives you a chill, doesn’t it?

  • February 27, 2011 at 5:19 am

    I remember feeling the same way wen I took that oath. I wish I knew if Stephen, my son, felt the same way. He started Basic Training in the Army a week ago at Ft. Jackson. Unfortunately I wont be able to see him until Christmas to ask him.

  • February 27, 2011 at 11:50 am

    Chris, Ft Jackson is less than two hours from here let me know if you need something. Where is he going for AIT?

  • February 28, 2011 at 6:54 pm

    Drafted and homesick, I was still numb when I raised my right hand.
    It wasn’t until I went to my first movie in the base theater and stood at attention for the National Anthem that the full weight of the responsibility hit me. And yes, Cricket, it certainly gave me a chill.
    Chris, when you talk with your son, make sure he knows there are LOTS and LOTS of us who know it’s him and his brethren that make our way of life possible. Thank him for his sacrifice so that boneheads can say the most vile, stupid things about our military and our country.

  • February 28, 2011 at 11:52 pm

    I remember that room too. My copy of it was in the Kansas City AFEES.

    It was later that day that my dream as long as could remember of being a fighter pilot died too. Red green color deficiency.

    I joined during the Carter administration. I have been having a certain feeling of Deja vue lately. Go figure.

    @Greybeard – 2004 I was working in downtown Dallas and riding the train. In the seat across the aisle was a young black man telling stories about his recent Iraq tour to two even younger black men. There were very “rap-py”, you know? it was all “Shieet Dawg he done be in my sheet- noahmeen?” in the process of the story he showed them his wound scars.

    I stood up, offered my hand to the young vet and told him I would be honored to shake the hand of man who holds a purple heart and I thanked him for what he did for the rest of us.

    He was little surprised but stood and shook my hand but judging by the looks on their faces I think the younger “thugz” were absolutely SHOCKED to their core to see a middle aged white business man telling one of their own he would be honored to shake his hand.

    I was.


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