By Francis Scarcella
The Daily Item
PARRIS ISLAND, S.C. —
Thousands of friends and family members arrived at Parris Island to witness a magical moment in the lives of more than 500 recruits on Friday.
“Oorah! Oorah!” echoed throughout the more than 12 square miles of Parris Island after those 500 recruits became U.S. Marines.
It was a brisk, cloudy South Carolina day but family members poured on to the island, waiting for the opportunity to take their son or daughter or friend back to wherever it is they call home.
“It’s an amazing day,” said a proud parent as he walked by waving a Marine banner.
“I can’t wait to see my daughter.”
It may have been hard to actually see any of the recruits as they marched out to the “Depot’s Peatross Parade Deck,” an enormous runway which held six Marine recruit platoons, two of which were female platoons.
The ceremony began with the Marine Corps band marching around and setting the tone for one amazing sight.
As recruits marched nearly a mile to stand in place, looking from a distant all you could see was unity and perfection.
“This is something I would have never imagined,” said parent Sarah Docker, of Connecticut.
“I can’t even believe that my son is out there right now. I am so proud of him I have chills.”
The ceremony, which lasted about an hour, had few words spoken but plenty of visual memories were made.
“Look around at thee proud parents,” Derek Kettler, of Pittsburgh said.
“Have you ever seen anything so intense?”
Recruits stood at attention until it was time to walk by the commanding officers for final inspections and the thousands in attendance let each platoon know how proud they were as they marched by.
The final and probably the most important part of graduation ceremony is the ‘final command.”
“At this time the senior drill instructors will be issuing each platoon with there final commands,” the announcer said.
“This is the last and most welcome order recruits receive from their drill instructors.”
One by one each platoon was ordered “dismissed.”
As the sun broke through the cloudy skies the thousands in attendance became dead silent as senior drill instructors began to speak.
“Platoons dismissed,” drill instructors yelled one by one.
“Oorah! Oorah! Oorah!” must have been heard across the entire 12 miles, as people poured on to the parade deck to hug their sons and daughters and friends.
“I can’t wait to get back home and brag to everyone I know that I know have a son that is a Marine,” Douglas Perry, of New Jersey said.
“I just have to find him through this huge crowd first.”
Perry and his son eventually met up and could be seen hugging on the parade deck.
“How can you get chills after seeing this,” a drill instructor asked another drill instructor.
“I’d do it all over again if I could.”