Brother, sister leaving for Marine boot camp

By Elizabeth Campbell, General assignment reporter, ecampbell@wjxt.com
Published On: May 26 2014 02:58:49 PM EDT
Updated On: May 27 2014 04:41:56 AM EDT

An emotional Memorial Day for a local mother. Her only two children are both heading to boot camp: her 23-year-old daughter leaving tomorrow and her 18-year-old son leaving in just a couple weeks.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -

It's an extremely emotional Memorial Day weekend for one Westside mother.

Her only two children are both heading to boot camp in the next month.

Shanon Berry, 23, leaves Tuesday, and her 18-year-old brother, Brandon Berry, won't be far behind. He's leaving June 16.

Leslie Berry wiped away tears of sadness and joy as she spoke to Channel 4's Elizabeth Campbell about her children leaving for Marine boot camp. She said she will miss her kids terribly, but she is very proud of them.

“Since they're both leaving at the same time, I do have mixed emotions,” Leslie said. “But I'm very happy for them, very happy.”

Shanon and Brandon say they were born to fight for their country — and doing it together makes the experience that much more special.

“We've been best friends,” Shanon said. “He's always been there for me, and I've been there for him, and that's one of the best things is going in with him.”

Shanon says she's known she was born to be a Marine since 10th grade — and being able to wear the uniform can't come soon enough.

“There's something that burns inside of me, like I can't wait to become a Marine to stand for something, to stand for this country and to be something different,” she said. “I know I was born to be different and help people and change people's lives, and that's what I want to do.”

Leslie and her children have always been close — but Brandon says he knows his mom will get through their absence.

“This is to better us,” he said. “This is to break us down and build us back up and give us the character we need. My mom is very sad to see us go. There's going to be no one in the house, but she's more proud than anything, so I think she'll be alright.”

Leslie said she's going to keep herself busy during each of her kids' 13 weeks of boot camp — and she says this Memorial Day is more special than ever before.

“I'm gonna miss them,” Leslie said. “But I know they're both going to be a wonderful man and woman when they come out, and I'm just so happy for them.”

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