Return #2

We met them at the airport last night.

It felt more familiar this time, watching as my middle brother, who'd just earlier that morning graduated from U.S. Marine Corps boot camp, walked through the gate, smiling when he caught sight of us, and we waved. My sisters {who flew with my parents to my oldest brother's graduation three months ago} were with us this time, and his girl.

He was wearing his dress blues, and he looked handsome, tan, older, yet with that same laughing, half-cocky glint in his eye, and he smiled big.

I'd never really noticed much resemblance between him and his older brother, but now I did. Maybe the haircut was the difference, maybe the sunburned ears, maybe the smile. Maybe the unashamed hugs in public.

He didn't say boot camp was "easy", he said that was what they were told to write in letters home. But I know there was never any doubt he would rock boot camp; he has always been strong, tough, and competitive.

And I realized how much I missed him, even though I'd moved away from home before he left, even though I might've said it was "easier" thinking about him joining than it was his older brother. Because you can miss someone even when you take the missing for granted.

I am so proud of him.

Yes, men like this are what make our nation great.

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