Jesus its November already. More importantly it’t 10 November. I know my birthday. I know my fathers. I think my mothers is tomorrow. I know my brothers are in March. I think valentines day is in February, and my parents anniversary is some time in June. I can’t tell you my nieces birthdays but I can tell you one thing for sure.
Its the Goddamn MARINE CORPS birthday today. Happy 238 years MARINES. SEMPER FIDELIS! I miss my friends.
I am 43 years old this year. I finally joined my local Marine Corps League. I am, I believe the youngest in the group. I now belong to the Jack Ivy Detachment 666 of the Marine Corps League. Satan’s own! We meet once a month at some Elks lodge and shoot the shit, raise money for charitable causes and basically enjoy each others camaraderie.
I am in a room with mostly Korean war and Vietnam era Marine Corps veterans. I am still figuring out where I will fit in with the group as far as my participation, but one thing is for sure, and what still fascinates me to this very day. I can walk in sit down with a bunch of men I have never met in my life or know and be at home without saying a word.
You can look around the room at the faces and theres an unspoken understanding of stories and experiences unknown. You are part of a group that will never be taken from you. A family you will always have.
This past week there was an old guy in the room. Navy veteran. Served in WWII. He was made an honorary member of the detachment for some of his past participation. He gets up and accepts his little plaque and relates a simple story.
I was at Iwo Jima on a battleship. I saw the flag go up on Mt Suribachi. All the ships around Iwo started blasting their horns. We had 80 Marines on the ship and what I saw and knew what was going on ashore, those Marines were incredible. I haven’t admired anyone as much since then.
The air in the room was still. There is no words to describe how you feel. You simply sit there. You think about good times, faces of the past whom have left us and how even in the worst of times how much you wish you could go back there even if just for a moment to re-live that experience.
On this veterans day weekend, think about what you have in terms of freedoms. In the simplest of terms there are fewer and fewer men and woman of a generation who went forward and fought tyranny in ways that are indescribable to this day. You probably do not even know what they have done. They willfully chose to go forward, without political affiliation or whether the cause was just, but simply because each felt it was right and had to be done.
If you look even deeper into some of these men and their acts of heroism and valor they displayed you will find it had in most cases shit all to do with you our America. It was very simply more to do with a buddy to his left or right. The Marines I know are like this. Marines have stopped and beaten anyone thats ever taken a shot at us. Japanese, Chinese, Vietnamese, Cubans, Panamanians, Iraqis, Taliban. Historically speaking the US Marines have never left a battlefield beaten. The ultimate outcome of a war may not have been categorized as a win or lose, but one thing is for sure, the Marine Corps have never lost a battle.
There is good reason the Marines are called the finest fighting force the world has ever seen.
Its easy to thank a veteran. Its easy for TGI Fridays to give away a meal. Its easy to let an old man with a Marines Corps baseball hat go in front of you while in the grocery store line. Its easy to take a day out of the year and go see a parade and raise a flag in their honor. Those are the easy things.
You want to make a difference? You want to truly thank a veteran? Educate yourselves and go fucking VOTE. Do not listen to NBC or FOX. Educate yourselves on the issues that have made this country great. Educate yourselves on what this country needs in leadership. Then Vote. When you go and vote and pull the hammer or punch the chad, ask yourself, a very simple question. How do my actions today in this little voting booth best pay tribute to the millions of men and women who have gone forward for this country for the simplest of reasons if only that we are all free in the pursuit of happiness? You vote.
Semper Fidelis Marines and Happy Birthday.
Let ‘er rip tater chips.