KC Star wrote:
Sister, brother join Army at same ceremony
By LEE HILL KAVANAUGH
The Kansas City Star
She hopes she won’t throw up. Hopes she won’t burst into tears. Tells herself to be strong.
This is her kids’ day. The day they join the Army.
Tracey Bickle Scott of Grandview fidgets with her daughter’s digital camera as both her children sign papers in a nearby room.
Are the batteries working? What if something goes wrong? What if this is a mistake?
No, she tells herself. Don’t go down that “what if” road. This is a proud day.
In just a few moments on this Thursday, her children Kyle, 23, and Jess, 22, graduates of Lee’s Summit High School, will do something rare, possibly unprecedented: Together, as brother and sister, they will take the oath to serve their country. No one at Kansas City’s Military Processing Center, near Kansas City International Airport, can remember another time when two siblings joined in one ceremony.
And no one will be prouder than their mom.
Except maybe their dad, Bob Scott of Overland Park, who is pretty proud too, with his own camera slung around his neck, focusing and refocusing.
Jess appears first after finishing the piles of paperwork. She’ll wait for her brother and they’ll raise their right hands together.
Mother and daughter embrace. Tracey wraps her arms around her only daughter.
“So … you’re gonna do it. … I’m so proud of you,” she whispers into Jess’ ear.
“You can back out if you want.”
The two look at each other. Two petite blond women with brown eyes that could bore holes through steel. Nearly identical twins, separated by a couple of decades of life, but united now in the seriousness of the moment.
“No, I can’t,” says the daughter.
She has no regrets. Not now. Not yesterday, and especially not in the tomorrows to come. Just the day before she had said how proud she would be to serve her country, hopefully as a nurse, to go to Iraq and take care of the wounded and sick no matter whether they were American or Iraqi. She believes in what America is doing.
Tracey Scott smiles deeply. Her daughter, so young, so brave. Where did it come from?
Even before she takes the oath, Jess Scott has been rewarded: She is $22,000 richer, and her $32,000 in unpaid college loans are now the Army’s debt. Kyle Scott received a $24,000 signing bonus and has the opportunity to finish college on the Army’s tab, after he serves. But even these perks, their mother knows, aren’t enough if harm comes.
Around 2:20 p.m., a crowd of Scott friends and family members assembles in the lobby of the processing center. Kyle completes his paperwork. He strides toward them, his head shaved, his muscular arms eager to give a hug. Kyle, a former walk-on football player from Pittsburg State, smiles so wide his dimples appear. He sees his best friend, his favorite cousin. He scoops up her toddlers and kisses them hard.
There is no second guessing for the Scott siblings. The only doubts come from the people who love them.
Both Scott siblings have parsed and prayed and weighed their choices about dedicating four years of their lives to serve America. To fight a war. To try to make the world better, to support their president.
The loudspeaker calls for Scott and Scott to report to the admissions desk. Brother and sister follow a uniformed soldier into the ceremony room for a few quick lessons on how to snap to attention, how to relax their arms by their sides, how to stand at ease.
Outside the room, Tracey Scott reads again a quote posted on the wall. Colin Powell: Just ordinary men and women making an extraordinary commitment to their nation.
An officer motions for the entourage to enter, then yells out: “Uh-Ten-HUT!
Brother and sister snap their feet together, standing straight and tall.
The room is tomb silent except for a few coughs, a few shuffles in the audience, a few tears as more than one person struggles with emotions of pride and apprehension, sensing something extraordinary.
“Raise your right hand…”
Tracey Scott puts her own hand over her heart. Hoping it won’t break.