I didn't realize that today was the 19th of April Very memorable day for the country. The WACO seige ended this day back in 1993, the Oklahoma Federal Building bombing in 1995 and tomorrow will be the anniversary of the Columbine shootings of 1999 but to me this day marks the 17th anniversary of the day that I started my journey in becoming a man. 17 years on the exact day today (Monday) I left to become a United States Marine. 17 years. It's still amazes me when I think about it! I was 23, still wet behind the ears for being that old. Still living at home. I followed my younger brothers footsteps. My mother always told me that I was the late bloomer of the family & I guess to a certain extent she was right. I was 168 skinny then. I can't even imagine being that skinny again. I like most soon to be recruits was scared, filled with uncertainty about what to expect. Luckily my brother prepared me somewhat to expect. I watched "Earning the Title" narrated by then star of Major Dad's show Gerald McRaney, faithfully everyday to motivate me. I did what was expected of me as a poolee. I was so moto that I even got a high & tight months before shipping out. I never expected in my wildest dreams that life would take me where it did. That old cliche that states "Things happen for a reason" sticks in my mind. My only regret in life is that I didn't stay on active duty. I could probably be an E-7 or E-8 or possibly had followed in Albert Renteria's footsteps & have been a Chief Warrant Officer. I think I may have. After all he is the one that had me re-enlist another tour. He always said that he would get me to re-enlist but I told him NO, that I was getting out. Finally, I relented & told him that I would only re-enlist if he got me stationed in Texas. I never thought he would come through but I should have known better. San Angelo, TX or STANK Angelo as I call it now was my 2nd duty station. My active duty stint in the Marine Corps was great. Life has taken me where I need to be I suppose. I'm grateful for my brother who was a Marine first & for Albert Renteria for being so persistent and a good Marine because I am where I need to be. Even though I'm not on active duty, I'm still in uniform in the reserves. I'm getting activated at the end of this year so I'll be able to be on active duty again so if you think about it I've got the best of both worlds not matter what. I had surgery on my torn meniscus a few weeks ago so I will be able to start exercising again to get me back in shape so I can compete w/ these 20 somethings that I used to be 17 years ago. 17 long years. A lot has happened to me. I've seen people & places I otherwise would probably never see, made friends I'm still on touch with, worn the uniform that most wish they could have done. I've seen the death of my father, stood by my mother's side during cancer, endured long hours of college & have experienced love & loss along the way but I'm better for it. Life is good! I've got a great job, moved to a different city all because of April 19, 1993. My receiving DI talked of what we as future Marines were going to face in the future as he showed us on TV (the only time we saw TV in boot camp) the raid on the compound in WACO, I was on the USS ESSEX when I first heard about the bombing in Oklahoma & was @ the MC detachment @ Goodfellow AFB when I heard about the shooting in Columbine. A lot of memorable moments to remember for the country on this day but mine will always be the day I started my journey to become a U.S. Marine. Semper Fi friends & thanks again Al!!!