In 2012, we are lucky enough to have a military that is volunteer only - with no draft.
Still yet, each year men and women across the country enlist to join our armed forces. These brave citizens leave their old lives behind and start anew. But what about the families they leave behind at?
KXLY sat down with a Spokane Valley family to find out what it is like to have your only son ship out to boot camp.
At 18 years old, Kegan Ovnicek is ready to make his mark on the world.
"He is almost 19, he'll actually turn 19 his first week of boot camp," his mom Tricia Ovnicek said.
It was just yesterday he was her little boy. "He and i have always just had a really close bond," she said.
They've never been apart, but that's about to change.
"I had always wanted to be in the military, I didn't know what branch, but I did know I wanted to be in the military," Kegan said.
Kegan is getting ready to leave Spokane for navy basic training in Great Lakes, Illinois. Joining the military isn't necesarily what Tricia had in mind for her son.
"it was a surprise... Cried pretty hard for about two weeks... He had a job, went to school. He just kept coming home saying like 'I feel like it doesn't really mean anything' ya know he just wasn't really feeling the college thing, he ended up losing his job so one day he came home and was like 'that's it, i'm gonna join the military!" she said.
Needless to say Tricia is a little nervous for her son. "I thought this could either be the best thing for him, or the worst thing for him," Tricia said.
"I had just decided that it was time to man up and join, ya know what's the worst that could happen," Kegan said.
Even so, Kegan is anything but nervous, he is ready to serve our country.
"In my eyes, the people who deserve the most respect are the people who go overseas, who are serving our country that make sure we get to do what we want to do," he said.
And even though he isn't sure where he'll end up serving, he is fully aware of the danger.
"If I get killed, I get killed... You're not gonna stay alive forever, it'd be better if your life could be longer, but if your life is short, then that's how it was meant to be," he said.
For now, they're not thinking about the worst. "I can't wait to see what happens when he comes home, I can't wait to see you know, I know he's almost a grown man, but in my heart I know he's still my little boy," Tricia said.
No distance, no amount a time can break their bond.
"Thinking about not being able to see him whenever I want, or text him or call him just to say 'hey, I love you,' ya know that sort of gets me," she said, "but ya know it's gonna be worth it, ya know it's just gonna be such an incredible life for him."
Kegan shipped out Wednesday with two other recruits to Great Lakes, Illinois for navy boot camp. His mom said he made it there safe and sound.