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     According to Wikipedia (because who quotes Webster's anymore in this techy age!) a ‘crucible’ is a container that can withstand extremely high temperatures and is used in the production of metal, glass and pigments. I looked it up because I was curious as to why ‘The Crucible” is called , well, ‘The Crucible”.

   Knowing that the powers that be in the Marine Corps stick to years of tradition and have symbolism woven into every aspect of their being from the ‘leatherneck’ collar of their dress blues to the ‘blood stripe’ donned by  Marines to remember the blood of their fallen brothers, I pondered the symbolism of the crucible.

   What  possible symbolism could  a container hold for the Marine Corps?? Doesn’t sound very exciting, does it? To see a picture of ‘a crucible’ it resembles a bland, uninviting pot. Nothing like the Marines I’ve seen which almost demand a second glance for their attention to detail and perfection.

   But the use….ah….THEREIN the symbolism lies! A crucible is able to withstand very high temperatures….much like our  in-the-process-of-being-forged Marines. They’ve been exposed to ‘high heat’ for 12 weeks now. They’ve come from being deer-in-the-headlights , moppy headed kids to finely tuned, alike thinking, efficient Marines. Like metal, It took a process to get them there….there was the melting

away of their old selves……say goodbye to baggy jeans, sleeping till noon and the half-way doing the chores when asked for the 10th time.  The imperfections are heated out of the steel…..just as the imperfections of our ‘boys’ were forged out of them (sometimes much to their dismay) until what remained was pure.

    Crucible steel is some of the finest, (now rare) steel that has ever been produced. It’s a precision craft….and not everyone can do it….just like not everyone can be a Marine.  But a metal that can withstand that heat, can be forged into some of the most precious, rare items found. Just like our boys.

   And with that, I thought of OUR crucible…as parents. We’ve withstood heat before…..bringing these children into the world was no picnic. Then you throw in finances, worries, education, friends, rebellion and all the ‘other’ elements that have turned up the heat on us….yet we remained strong.

     Then came our melting point. That day, that no matter how much pride you have in your son, you have to admit that when they told you they wanted to be a Marine your heart dropped…even if only for a minute. Let the melting begin. Pretty soon, you realized you were nothing like your former self. You felt like a melted mass of ‘blah’. You shipped this kid off to strangers in hopes that they will ‘love’ him as much as you do…only to read and find out the the ‘love’ a DI shows him may not be what you had in mind. “WHAT have I done?” “WHAT was HE thinking?” often come to mind…you feel like you can’t move…trapped by the indistinguishable emotions that seem to mix with your form. But then, the heat is turned up… communication. Wondering every minute what they are doing…..not being able to eat for fear that they are hungry….almost unbearable temperatures boil the very soul of your being until you think you will break.

   But then, something miraculous happened….those worries, insecurities, fears slowly begin to be released. You realize that the ‘heat’ is there for a reason and learn to let go of those things you once held tight to…and with that find  that you are more at peace with all that is happening and the transformation that is taken place.

   Then comes your final test. The time has come that your recruit proves their worth…..they are put through the test…and so are our nerves! But in the end, they have a new form…..Marine. And so do we…..Marine Parents. And although other ‘metals’ can be polished to be beautiful and catch your eye, none are like a crucible metal…’s pure through and through. It’s stood the test. It’s exceeded the expectation. And with that….transformation.

Symbolism is more than fitting.

Bring on the crucible….I’m ready to be molded! 

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Comment by Cedi on June 18, 2014 at 11:38am

This is exactly how I've been feeling, word for word...I'm so PROUD of my son!!

Comment by Joyce on November 22, 2013 at 10:27pm

My son just came back from the Boot Camp; he actually enjoyed his time there! As far the Crucible is concerned, I deliberately avoided focussing on it or knowing the exact time or day for it; pure fright just thinking about it. As usual, you did a great job expanding the concept and reality. 

Comment by Oohrah13 on October 17, 2013 at 8:41am


Comment by snak on October 8, 2013 at 3:38pm


Thank you so much for writing this and sharing this with us!!  

Comment by Hevenn on May 1, 2013 at 3:48pm

Thank you Sandyr

Comment by 1~sandyr, MFN VO & VPMM on May 1, 2013 at 3:44pm

Hi Hevenn and welcome!

Here is your Boot message board group where you can connect with others who have a Recruit with yours:

Just scroll down to check out the link to our posting guidelines in the "Information Box" (be sure to stop, click, and read them)…


…and then continue to scroll under the blue t-shirt (battalion color) to the ‘Discussion Forum’.  You'll see a listing of topic titles.  Click on any title to read and to post.


Be sure to check the welcome post at the bottom of your profile page for more links and tips ; )

With pride in and prayers for all who serve our country,

Sandy (1~sandyr)

Director:  Online Support Services

VPMM of Brian

Comment by Hevenn on May 1, 2013 at 3:33pm

My son starts tomorrow (May 2, 2013) Lima Co Plt 3033..Thank you for sharing this post, I'm in tears.

Comment by Delana on February 20, 2013 at 10:10pm
I love that! Thank you so much! Only 4 hrs until my son enters the Crucible and this helps soothe my soul! :-)
Comment by gillymom on November 8, 2012 at 8:09am

Love this, this has captured everything that I've been feeling and PROUD isn't a big enough word to express my feelings right now.  I know my son will embrace the Crucible head on, and relish in every minute of it, he did not go into this adventure with blinders on, and I know the DI's have prepared them well!

Soon to have the title "MARINE MOM"

Comment by Ralphnv on October 28, 2012 at 11:12pm

TxTeacher1, I read this as a third generation mining metals which will be wrought to service.  You have written well and again inspired us.  Thank you.  And yes, my son, now on his way to MCT following leave, is remarkably tempered and refined to a higher purpose common to all Marines.  God Bless those who prepared him for the Crucible, and inspired him through it.

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