November 11th, 2008 was a very notable day in my life. It was a cool autumn day at Fort Knox, Kentucky, an atmosphere of happiness is all too present. There are four platoons of basic trainees standing in formation in front of the barracks they've lived in for about two months, and their drill sergeants actually have what may be smiles on their faces. I remember my drill sergeants that day, they were proud of us. They shook our hands and told us "congratulations, you're a soldier now". I swelled with pride, my dress greens were perfect, and my beret was formed to emphasize my facial features. I was prouder this day than I was when I graduated high school earlier that year, I didn't even attend my high school graduation ceremony.
Lined up behind the curtains of the stage we stood and waited to be presented with our certificates. We each walked up onto the stage, stated our rank, our name, and our hometown, and then marched off stage to take a seat in the auditorium. After everybody was done being introduced we all stood and waited to sing. We sang the Army song and the Armor Center March (I even remember some of it, though I don't think I can remember enough to sing it like I did that day).
After we were released from the auditorium, those who had family to witness the graduation went to spend just a few more minutes with their families, mine wasn't there, of course. I picked up my bags and waited in my platoon area, our drill sergeants wanted to give us a speech before they saw us off.
After they gave us a speech, shook our hands, and gave us some advice (mine was "You've got some good discipline, Martorano, don't lose it") we boarded our buses off to our AIT for further training, and thus ended the proudest day of my life.