NOTE: If you are driving to see the graduation,
get there EARLY, because it can take an hour, or more, to get on the
base Friday morning. There are a lot of folks that come ONLY for graduation,
and this adds to the time, to get through security.
One more time, check at the motel for shuttle bus time.
You will be over at the base at about 7:00 A.M. This time, you will
be at Command Headquarters. The shuttle bus drops you off in front
of the Depot Theater and Command Headquarters is at the far end of
the Parade Deck. That Parade deck is the area of 6 football fields
so it is a ways from the Depot Theater over to Command Headquarters.
You will be present for the Morning Colors Ceremony
and I am telling you this, DO NOT miss Morning colors, it is the pageantry
of the Corps. There will be the Marine Corps Band, the Color Guard,
the Commanding General, Command Sergeant Major, etc.
At exactly 8:00 A.M. the Colors are presented as the
band plays the National Anthem, followed by the Marine Corps Hymn.
This is only done on Friday morning and it is done just for us, THE
FAMILIES. If it is raining, this will not happen, but if it is not
raining, please, do not miss it.
After morning colors, we can ease on back down to the
Marine Exchange area for a coffee or a Pepsi and relax a bit. You
need to be in the graduation stands by 9:15-9:30 A.M. The graduation
starts at 10:00 A.M., not 10:01, this is still the Corps. The graduation
stands are a football field long with the Commanding General's booth
in the center. Where to sit? Not to worry. The stands are broken down
by PLATOON NUMBER. Find the section marked off for your Marine's platoon,
sit down, and he will graduate right in front of you.
If you have any questions, there are Drill Instructors
all along in front of the stands to help you. As I said, the graduation
starts at 10:00 A.M. and ends at 11:30 A.M. By the time we get him,
and his sea bag, it will be about noon. before we are ready to leave
the base. There will be taxi's waiting, in front of the Depot Theater,
if you would want one.
If it is raining, graduation will be held inside at the Depot
Theater. Some graduating Companies are small in the early months of
the year but later they can be in the 500-600 new Marines range.
This means that there are already 500-600 seats filled with
the graduating Company and there is not enough room in the Theater
for them and all the parents. Regardless of when you are there, if
it is raining, get there EARLY so you can get a seat and not miss
the graduation ceremony.
The last move he will make, at about 11:30 A.M., is
take one step back, do an about face- and he is then officially one
of the Few, the Proud, a United States Marine.
It is over and done with and we are out of there.