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Nervous, apprehensive, seeing those imposing gates,
Wondering what lies in store, what future trials await;
Wanting to turn back, return again from whence we came,
Wishing we had never read recruiting posters claims.
But much too late we stand, confronting stark reality,
That we’re committed to a life we entered voluntarily,
But, hiding grave foreboding, we put all our doubts aside,
And entered, all determined to take life in our stride.
That was the start of our careers so many years ago,
When all was sunny happy days,(or we recall it so,)
And we forget the first few days, bewildered, dazed and lost,
While trying to adjust to this New World, this line we crossed.
For now our past is done, forgotten- just a memory,
As we prepare to join this new, extended family,
Presently relinquishing our ties to dads and mothers,
Exchanging them for hundreds of assorted newfound brothers.
Though in those first few hours, still feeling empty and alone,
Existing in an alien world, just wishing we were home,
We’re learning a first lesson very quickly, short and sweet,
Which is brought home to us, in short - to stand on our two feet.
No parents to protect us nor to shield us when we fail
To do what is required, no matter how we weep and wail,
We’re masters of our future now, and we will stand or fall
By our own actions from this day, throughout life’s fits and squalls.
And on that first night, laid in an unfamiliar, strange, cold bed,
Listening to muffled sobs and quiet teardrops shed,
As pangs of homesickness strike home to many youngsters there,
We start to grow up from this time, although not yet aware.
And this is how we differed from our pals in Civvy Street
Thrust into a grown-up world, our childhood incomplete,
We learned quite quickly to survive, mature more swiftly then,
Necessitating major change as we turned into men.
There were some boys who failed to change, who could not readjust,
But really not surprising when we look at the robust
Life that we were thrown into, the complete transformation
That we were called to undertake in our chosen vocation.
Now, with the gift of hindsight, looking back at times long past,
We see how these things shaped our lives, and showing the contrasts
With how a different path chosen would alter our life’s course,
But all in all I think that we could have done a whole lot worse!