Dear Dad

25 Feb 2022 | Lance Cpl. Colin Harper Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island

“Why him?” said U.S. Marine Corps Pfc. Jonathan Lane. His eyes were brimming with tears. His voice quivered. He repeated “Why him?”

In a single moment, life can completely change. For Jonathan Lane, that moment was when he was just four years old. His father, GySgt. Shawn Lane, was deployed to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. On July 28, 2004, a knock on his door changed everything.

His mother answered the door to two men dressed in uniform. She crumbled to her knees and buried her face in her hands. Lane’s father was gone.

“When he passed away, it was like the end of the world,” said Lane.

Ever since he lost his father, Lane said that there has been a piece that was missing in his life¬¬¬¬¬: family gatherings were not the same; his dad could never pick him up from his soccer games; he would never get to go on family vacations with his dad.

When people would bring up his father in conversation, he would get depressed.

Lane said that people always spoke highly of his dad. They said that he was a great leader who always looked out for his Marines, and that he was also a great father.

Despite being so young when he passed away, Lane’s dad was hard to forget. He was determined to live up to his father’s name and join the same brotherhood that he had given his life for.

“Becoming a Marine was my promise to him,” said Lane. “I’ve always wanted to be in the Marine Corps. I wanted to fill my father’s boots.”

On Nov. 8, 2021, Jonathan Lane stepped onto the bus that would bring him to very place his father started his military career—Parris Island. It was the start to making good on his promise.

“As soon as they told us to put our heads down, I knew it was game on,” said Lane.

From the moment he stood on the yellow footprints, Lane said he thought about his father every single day.

“I always knew he was watching over me,” said Lane “I felt his strength; it kept me pushing.”

Every obstacle that he overcame felt like a weight was lifted off his shoulders, and every night before he went to bed, Lane would talk to his father and let him know how his day went.
On Jan. 22, Lane completed the Crucible, the final culminating event of Marine Corps Recruit Training. After overcoming every obstacle and conquering every struggle, he finally received his Eagle, Globe and Anchor and the title of United States Marine.

This was the moment Lane had been waiting for.

“I have a scar on my hand from squeezing my Eagle Globe and Anchor as hard as physically possible,” said Lane.

Lane knew by earning his Eagle, Globe and Anchor he finally fulfilled the promise he made to his father and himself.

“Dear Dad,” said Lane, choking back his tears, “It’s been 18 years, and I finally received my EGA. Thank you for everything. I wish you were here to be at graduation. I love you Dad.”

Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island