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We met them at the airport last night.

My sisters were the first through the gate, then my parents, and then my brother who graduated from U.S. Marine Corps boot camp yesterday.

He looked so handsome, dark tanned with a military haircut but wearing "civilian" clothes, a shirt I remember well, and most of all that smile.

He said, "it wasn't that hard," and I know he's not just saying it, because he was a hunk before going in. I know, too, it was tough, and three months is a long time, and he is twenty pounds leaner.

But it made him stronger, and I can see that strength in his dirt-worn hands and confidence.

I am so proud of him.

He's on leave for just ten days and I'll probably only see him once more before he heads out again. It's okay, though. For now he has found something to do in life, something to run with, something to be part of.

And he's still cool enough to give his sister a hug in public.

Men like this are what make our nation great.

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