What It Means to Serve

More than 48,000 people graduate from Army basic training at Fort Jackson, South Carolina, and become soldiers each year. Their 10 weeks of training involve everything from physical fitness to throwing live hand grenades. This is a small glimpse into Army Pvt. Jackson Bean’s life and why he has chosen to serve and wear the uniform as a fourth-generation service member.

Video by: Army Staff Sgt. Edwin Pierce, DOD

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(reporter) proud of your boy?

(mother of soldier) Yes… So much

(Army Pvt. Jackson Bean) Um…personally, everyone in my family is kind of humble about it, it’s not a big deal it’s just what we do. It means a lot to be able to give back. I think that we were given a lot as Americans that we take for granted and I think that everyone should give back somehow, and this was my way of giving back. Helps me to grow up get some experience in life and just get started. I mean I wasn’t really doing anything before this so it’s something to better myself and to better my country at the same time. [Karen Bean] So when our first son went to his training we were all nervous he was nervous we were nervous that we were going to be so far apart for the first time and by the time he was done he was ready to be stationed halfway across the world so, it, it is a step towards the future for them as far as their responsibility and their preparedness.

(Mike Bean) The best thing is your son or daughter is looking for a direction and a purpose in life now they’re not just going to be floating around. Um, there’s a lot of discipline associated with it. Um, there’s a lot of opportunity associated with it that most people and just don’t understand and experience growing up in the military you’re going to move around a lot. Jack ended up at 11 schools in his 12 years of elementary School and high school, um, so you make friends quicker you’re just a different person.

[Pvt. Jackson Bean] So my grandpa on my mom’s side was Sergeant Major of the Army from 87 to 91 I believe. Um, my dad’s a colonel, um, his dad was in the Marines, my dad actually started off the Marines, my brothers air force, cousins Marines, army…all over the place this kind of runs in the family. Coming through basic training you struggle at it sometimes and I can only imagine as you’re deploying stuff it’s a lot harder and you start to get a feel ah, to an extent of what it means to wear that uniform and we’ve learned a lot about people, other people have sacrificed you know the drill sergeants telling stories of friends they’ve lost or your parents telling stories about people they’ve lost. So, in essence it means a lot more putting on this uniform and being a soldier and it really makes you proud after you, I mean I haven’t walked across that field yet but when I do it’s, I know it’s gonna be very emotional.

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