Well this one is easy! Today the magical moment was when my wonderful husband, Eddie, graduated his final phase of BNCOC. Though it was not the most difficult training he's been through in the military by a long shot, each unit presents different challenges and he certainly had his share to deal with over the last few weeks.
Eddie's personality in uniform is vastly different than when he's at home in shorts and flip flops. He is all business and both obeys and enforces every regulation (with the exception of fraternizing with an officer, HA!). Many of his peers and subordinates find this difficult to deal with. Often these are the ones lacking discipline and pride in what they do, inevitably creating personality conflicts. He often grows weary, feeling as though he's fighting a losing battle of enforcing standards to those who don't seem to care.
As we talked by phone the last few weeks, he often said how everyone hates him. They roll their eyes when he makes on the spot corrections and quotes the regulation to prove his point. He was terrified of peer evaluations, fearing he would be ranked last and pummeled with criticism. But on the day of his graduation, I saw a completely different reaction from his class mates. They shook his hand, even hugged him afterwards. One thanked him for encouragement after a low test score crushed his morale. His roommate said it was an honor to live with him the last few weeks. And though some only acted out of courtesy and politeness, all of them had a common genuine respect in their eyes.
And like everything he does, he excelled beyond the class average. I swelled with pride as he walked across the stage. I even let out a "Hooah," which I hardly ever did when I was in the military, let alone completely out and in civilian clothes. But it couldn't be repressed as the announcer said, "This NCO exceeded course standards." Never had a doubt.