It was a rainy, humid morning on Wednesday, October 8, 2008, a day I could never forget. I turned over calmly and realized it was 4:30am, time to get out of bed. It was the big day. All these thoughts were racing through my head. “What am I doing? Am I sure this is right for me? Will I succeed in this? ” I was timid, excited, and fluttered all at the same time. It was the day I’d no longer be a civilian. Eight weeks from that day I’d be calling myself a United States Navvy Sailor. As I woke up and started to get ready, I could feel goose bumps Jitter up my spine.
What occupied my mind was the thought of leaving my family. I was the last child still living at home. My brother’s were already gone. Would my parents be able to cope? I know my dogs would miss me terribly. It was time to depart to the recruiting office. From there, NCI Valencia had to drive me to the Military Entrance Processing Station. That day felt like a surreal blur. NCI Valencia would give me advice with a big grin on his face, and I would hear him, but not listen. My nerves were overpowering my body and I couldn’t manage them.
I then pent the whole day in a building completing all these exams to make sure I was hearty and robust to leave. That day was the longest day of my life. Looking around, I felt at ease. All the other recruits were giving out the same body language I was giving. We were all feeling the same feelings and thinking the same thoughts. I wasn’t alone. It was time for the Oath of Enlistment Ceremony. A few men in sailor uniforms brought all the recruits into a room with a variety of flags. My family was the only family that attended to take pictures of the big event.
I then elevated my right hand, hile standing in the position of attention, and reiterated after Chief, “l, Amanda Lazcos, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States of America and… ” Using my peripheral vision, I noticed my mother crying. Keeping my emotions intact was extremely arduous. Think about this: I was embarking on a new Journey and leaving the two most important people in my life at the age of 19. This was the first time I would be away from my parents for a long period of time. It was a life-defining moment. The event had come to a close.
It was now time to say my farewells. At this point, it was nearly impossible to even glance at my family. Looking at them would make me realize how much they mean to me. I tried to make it quick and simple so I wouldn’t shed a flood of tears. The last scent I reminisced on my mother was her Sunflowers perfume. She adored (and still does) that perfume. My father had this truly glorious look in his eyes. I knew he was so delighted to see me doing something positive towards my future. At the same time, I knew he was going to miss me a lot. In an instant, I was on the bus, and off to the airport along with 37 other recruits.