A mother's son going to Iraq

Tags: HeroStories

I heard from Melody Pigg today. She had ordered Deployed HeroBracelets with her son's name, Marshall Pigg. I asked her to tell us a little about Marshall and she wrote back with a pretty moving letter about him and his decision to join the Marines. She reflects on her pride in having a son willing to do the hard work that so many would never be willing to do, and she talks about the fear and hopes that every parent would have when their child goes off to war. I want to thank Melody for this. I didn't change a thing...

000_0070-745475.jpg"It's June 2004, and we're sitting in Minute Maid Park watching our son take the oath of enlistment into the United States Marine Corps before thousands of people at an Astros game. Just two weeks prior, our son, Marshall, who had just completed his Junior Year in high school, wanted us to meet with a Marine Recruiter. It really wasn't a surprise to us that he wanted to enlist in the Marine Corps. This is a dream he's had since Elementary School. On the way to school as a first grader, he stated to me that he wanted to be in the military. When I told him that he could die, his response was, "But I'd die proud." Marshall's room was always decorated in a patriotic theme, and he'd proudly sing the National Anthem and "God Bless the USA" whenever they were played. Always a strong loyalty to God, Country, and Family. The day after September 11th, he told me that "if all of this is still going on after I graduate, I'm going to join."

Once Marshall enlisted, it changed his whole Senior Year. We looked at him with a different perspective. Our son was not going to go to college and continue "growing up." He was a grown man with his life planned. He wouldn't be changing his majors as he tried to figure out what he wanted to do in life, he knew what he wanted. People would question his decision and think he was "crazy" for joining, especially during war time. To us, he was one of the few that really understood what's important in life. People would say that we need to "make" him go to college first. What good would that have done for either one of us? He would have been miserable in college and it would have wasted his time and our money. Besides, with the Marines looking over his shoulder, we didn't have to worry about him partying instead of studying.

A week after high school graduation, June 6, 2005, Marshall left for San Diego for boot camp. That's a very difficult time because you basically don't have any contact, except letters, for three months. The parents get a very brief phone call a few days after they arrive in San Diego, just for the recruit to say they're okay. We received the first letter from Marshall about 3 weeks after he left. The first line of the letter said, "Hi Mom and Dad. Camp is great! My favorite subject is arts and crafts." We knew at that time that Marshall was doing great, he still had his sense of humor. Every week, we received another letter from him. It became exciting to get mail again! During the entire 3 months, he maintained his sense of humor and never questioned the decision he'd made. Marshall graduated from boot camp on September 2, 2005. He was an official U S Marine. Just going to San Diego really made us aware of the enormity of what he'd experienced and how difficult it must have been. All without the comfort of being able to call home and talk to us. Everything had to be handled by himself. It was a very proud moment for all of us when he was pinned with the Eagle, Globe, and Anchor. He was a Marine.

000_0073-764410.jpgEven though he scored extremely high on his tests, Marshall chose to be Infantry. He volunteered to go to Iraq soon after he started his Infantry training in September. In his words, "he wants to give back to his country that has given so much to him." As parents, we're scared to death, but we're also extremely proud. He's on pre-deployment leave right now and is scheduled to return to 29 Palms California on Wednesday, February 15th. He'll spend a few weeks training and will ship out sometime in March for Iraq. We're really enjoying his time with us, seizing every precious moment. It's such a comfort knowing he's sleeping down the hall. It's such a comfort to hear him say, "I'm home." It's such a comfort to hear him pester his 7 year old brother. And it's such a comfort to hear him say, "I love you" several times a day. Those priceless moments will stop in a few days and we'll be back to very infrequent contact and deep, heartfelt prayers for safety. The nightmares have already started and we hope they will end. It's strange to be so proud of someone and be enormously scared at the same time. Marshall's at peace with his decision and with whatever the future brings. It's just so very hard to let go."

We wish Marshall a safe and fulfilling missi