As he walked towards the entrance, escorted by his mom and his girlfriend, he felt prouder than ever before in his life. He saw the principal there, talking to the security guard. He locked eyes with him.
He remembered the words he had said to him that same morning, and a chill went down his spine. He hoped that there wouldn’t be any problem. But then, the principal started murmuring someone to the security guard. His blood started boiling when the guard told him he couldn’t get in. How was that possible?
Ever since he was a kid, Jacob’s biggest desire was to join the military and serve his country. His dad had done so before him, as did his grandfather.
To him, it was a matter of patriotism and doing what was right for his people. But it was also about keeping his family’s legacy. He knew that the best homage he could serve to his deceased father was to join the army. And from a young age, he started working towards that goal.
Jacob’s mom, Courtney, was somewhat doubtful about whether that’s what she wanted for her son or not. Of course, she was proud of his husband’s willingness to devote his life to his nation and admired his courage and values.
But at the same time, she knew there were safer, more comfortable ways of life available for his son. He was a gifted kid who could do whatever he wanted in life. But soon enough, she realized something.
It was evident that Jacob’s true calling, especially since his father’s decease, was to serve in the military. It was his biggest aspiration and goal in life.
His dream was to reach the position of sergeant. After he made that clear to his mother, she knew that trying to force other life paths on his son would only make him unhappy. That’s what he wanted to do and what he saw as the most important thing in life. So he devised a plan for it.
Jacob was a brilliant student. He started working towards graduating high school sooner than it would be usual. He felt like he had no time to waste.
His goal was to enter a Marines boot camp right after finishing his studies. Jacob knew he had to finish his education, but he wanted to join the corps as soon as possible to start living the life he felt he was destined for. Little did he know the problems that this would bring him.
Jacob managed to do everything according to his plans. He graduated high school, packed up, and got on his way to the Marines boot camp he was sent to after his application.
There, he was introduced to the ins and the outs of the corps. After just a few months, he was already rightfully a member of the Marines. He couldn’t be any prouder. However, there was something he still needed to do.
Jacob had done everything in his hand to go through the boot camp before attending his graduation ceremony.
Maybe there was a little bit of vanity in his decision. Still, it was also rightful pride: he wanted to be able to say that he was already a Marine by the time he attended his high school graduation. However, things wouldn’t turn out that easy for him.
Finally, the big day arrived. Before the ceremony, there was a meeting of that year’s class, the teachers, and the principal, so that anyone who had something to ask about the ceremony was properly informed.
Jacob sat at his desk, glad to be surrounded by his peers and teachers. But then, the principal said something that made him freeze on the spot.
“Remember, guys, you have to dress formally, or you won’t be allowed into the ceremony. No need to overdo it, but wear a long sleeve shirt and some nice pants. It’s a matter of respect for your school and your peers. And Jacob, I don’t know about your uniform,” he said, looking at the young Marine.
Jacob didn’t know what to think when he heard this. Was the principal serious? What did he even mean? What could be wrong with wearing his uniform to graduation? After returning home, he thought about what he would do until he made a decision.
Jacob decided that he would wear his uniform to the ceremony. There was no rhyme or reason to why that could possibly be wrong. What could be more respectful to his school and peers than showing his willingness to put his life on the line for them and the rest of Americans?
So that evening, the young Marine put on his uniform and drove to the ceremony with his girlfriend and mother, unaware that he was heading for the biggest disappointment of his life.
Before he could even walk past the door, the security guard and the principal denied him entry. “I told you,” the principal said, tapping Jacob’s uniform’s collar with his finger. Then, he just turned back and entered the ceremony, leaving Jacob, his girlfriend, and his mom standing there.
Jacob looked at the security guard, hoping he could bargain with him. But the man just shrugged and ignored them. The three of them were outraged. What could they do now?
“It was a disgrace,” Jacob’s mom later said in an interview. “There was one student who wore shorts and gym shoes, and another student who wore a red turban symbolizing his religious views.”
Understandably, Jacob, his mom, and his girlfriend felt insulted. It almost seemed like the principal had a personal case against Jacob. But why could that be?
There seems to be no apparent reason for the principal’s animosity. Or at least not one that Jacob or his mom can put their finger on.
“He’s in the military putting his life on the line for us. It’s unacceptable that he was not allowed to walk across the stage,” the doting mother told the press. “The students were outraged,” she added. “There were some students who were going to walk in solidarity with Jake.” But that’s not the end of it.
Shortly after the incident, the story was shared on Facebook by Jacob’s mom. In a matter of days, Jacob had thousands of people showing their support and expressing their disgust over the principal’s decision. He was even interviewed by the press about it.
“This tradition is not intended to be disrespectful to students, parents, or our community, but as a source of pride for our students.” However, this excuse hasn’t changed the fact that many people see him as a hypocrite after what he did. But what is Jacob going to do about it?
“I don’t want the social media controversy that is drawing attention away from the Class of 2022,” he told the media. “I also do not want to make any additional statements and wish to put this all behind me so I can start my career in the Marine Corps.”
If you think about it, he’s already won. His school’s principal has been exposed as a hypocrite, he has the sympathy and support of his peers, and now he’s headed towards his dream of becoming a sergeant in the Marines. In order to protect the privacy of those depicted, some names, locations, and identifying characteristics have been changed and are products of the author’s imagination. Any resemblances to actual events or places or persons, living or dead are entirely coincidental.