;MARINE CORPS LOGISTICS BASE ALBANY, Ga. -- Every year people watch their friends, husbands, wives, siblings, sons and daughters become Marines.
I watched my brother, Private Philip Spillane II, graduate recruit training at Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island, S.C., last week. While I felt proud and honored to have him as a fellow Marine, it was different seeing him in the same uniform I wear.
My brother overcame many obstacles to graduate bootcamp. He probably struggled more than most people do. He was scheduled to graduate last November but a week before the Crucible, he was put into a medical rehabilitation platoon for serious stress fractures in his legs, cracks in his bones that could cause his bones to break. While it hurt him physically, I believe it hurt him more mentally. All the motivation I had seen in his letters disappeared and he thought he would never recover.
Once a physician cleared him to pick up with another platoon, he caught pneumonia. After that cleared, he had a throat infection commonly known as strep throat.
All this time he seemed so helpless. As his big sister I always took care of him, and now I couldn't. I just had to hope he would find the strength to pull through it on his own.
Finally he was able to go through Crucible and graduate. Although he didn't graduate with his original platoon, he graduated, nonetheless.
I graduated recruit training in December 2000, so I have two more years in service than he does. While I have always felt responsible for him, I feel as though the Marine Corps has taken my job. I think I don't need to be so concerned about his future or his care. The Marine Corps has taken care of me, and I believe it will do the same for him.
Now my concerns are just for his safety during this time. While I would die protecting this country and what it stands for, I have a hard time considering my brother may have to do the same.
While he is more than willing, I don't know if I am ready to accept that. I understand now why my parents are so concerned about me. Because my parents served in the Marine Corps, I never expected them to feel that way. Now I know why they do.
I have always tried to push myself in everything. Because my brother is a Marine now, I feel as though I have another reason to push myself. It's not only for me, but it is for him as well. I will always be his big sister, but I also want to be the Marine he looks up to and compares himself to.
I want to be the reason he pushes himself to be better.
Coming from a long family line of Marines, my brother and I both have competed since we were little. Now that competitive spirit is on a different level. We have the opportunity now to compete as Marines.
Although I have had a couple of years to get a head start, I have faith that he will catch up to me.
I am glad my brother has become a Marine, and I am confident that he will be an outstanding Marine. After all, it is a family tradition.