Project RED Friday began in 2014.
A seed was planted that started to grow after a mom and dad were told their son joined the Army and would be leaving for boot camp in February of 2015. Well, the day came when he would be going on a journey of adventure, with a roller coaster of emotions. I remember that day, the last two things I said to him that day were, “listen to your instructors, they will teach you how to survive,” and “I love you”. With tears in our eyes, Mom and Dad pulled away, to let their son start this journey.
The next 14 weeks, we would send him cards and letters, Mom was happy when she got her first letter from him at week 3 or 4. At week 9, we took a trip to Ft. Benning, Georgia. We got to see our son and see the transformation to not just a man but an Infantryman. For 2 days we heard about the last nine weeks, and seemed like every 3 hours were stopping for something to eat. On that Sunday we had to leave him again for him to start AIT on Monday. The next five weeks we not only sent letters to our son but other men in his platoon as well.
It began to dawn on us that these men had banded together like brothers, the Army had taught them to live together, work together, train together and set aside any differences to be a team.
So these 45 men in his platoon were now his brothers and we began to feel like they were all our sons.
Graduation came and we made another trip to Ft. Benning, for the turning “Blue” ceremony, which is when they receive their BLUE cord, the mark of the infantry. The tradition at Ft. Benning is that the parents get to put the cord on their soldier. I will tell you, it was with great pride that my wife and I put this BLUE cord on our soldier. His head was held high, and he was proud of what he had accomplished in the last 14 weeks. The next day was graduation and we watched all of those men march proudly in formation, I can tell you if you every get the chance to watch a military graduation, your heart will be so full of pride not just for these soldiers, but for the commitment they made to serve America.
Our son got to come home for 2 weeks prior to shipping out to his duty station, in Alaska. This one is a little easier for Mom and Dad, Skype is a wonderful tool of communication. Shortly after him leaving for duty station, we discovered this “RED Friday”, we got the shirts and have been wearing RED every Friday since.
The goal of Project RED Friday is simple: raise awareness of our military men and women.
You see, this is NOT about debating politics or wars – it’s about keeping these men and women close to our hearts. I know of one soldier from Charlie 2/54 that is in Afghanistan today. If we can help him and all other men and women in the military to have peace of mind, then it is, in my humble opinion, my responsibility to do so. They are brothers and sisters, one family that has 1.7 million members who stand side-by-side. They may make fun from one branch to the other, but they all are joined by the common bond of brotherhood.
So EVERY Friday, my family will honor our troops by wearing RED and we ask you to please join us. We're making RED Friday shirts available, however, it doesn’t have to say RED Friday on it. A simple red t-shirt is all that's needed to remind you they are out there and serving our country as our sons and daughters.