The day before graduation new marines march in formation to greet their families to show off a person who has transformed from a civilian into a marine.
Once the 'Family Day' ceremony was complete, Lisa Davis of Leesburg says she immediately searched for her son. "We struggled there for a few moments to find him, then when you know he faces me, you know it's that moment you just.....I can't explain it" says Davis.
While some new marines shook classmates' hands, others received big hugs from family members, and some even shed a few tears. Private Payne Davis and all of the new marines had one word to explain the anticipation of being reunited with their families after only being allowed hand written letters as communication. "I was overwhelmed knowing that I was going to be able to see people that I hadn't seen in 3 months, people that I missed" says Davis.
Payne says he immediately updated his family on what boot camp was like and how his experience was mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual. "I was not very spiritual before I came here, but after seeing how much danger I could possibly be in the near future whether it be in Afghanistan or some other war zone, I actually found myself going over to the recruit chapel every single Sunday. For me that's very big" says Davis.
Another big moment for the Davis family was for Private Payne's father Robert Davis...because he's a retired marine who has looked forward to this day for years. "It's more than a dream come true to be able to see your son that has aspired to become a marine since his childhoodâ| to finally see this day. And to see him go through it was just priceless" says Davis.
With other relatives in the armed services as inspiration, Davis sees his new Marine Corps family as a lifelong connection and career. "After seeing what life in the Marine Corps can offer me I think I would probably want to go more than 20 years. It's really exciting and I want to try to stay in as long as possible" says Payne Davis.