It's a great weekend filled with memories, tributes, families, BBQs, and parades. But how many of us really remember the reason for this holiday? It's about remembering those men and women who have given their lives in defense of our country. This is not to be confused with Veterans Day, but the two are often intertwined. Veterans groups often march in the parades and give a special nod to those who have given the ultimate sacrifice. I've been marching nearly every year for the past eleven years with the Boy Scouts in our town's local parade.
Last weekend's meeting with the ladies of the Women Marines Association (and especially the WWII veteran) has made me very nostalgic to find my sisters in arms - those who went through Officer Candidate School with me in the summer of 1990. I found my photo albums and snapped photos of some of my favorite photos. It's easier than scanning even though it sounds a bit silly.
Can you spot me in this photo? Leave me a comment and let me know where you think I am.
I don't think any of these officer candidates other than yours truly accepted their commissions after successfully completing OCS. In the days before FB, I lost touch with them. They were good friends for ten weeks that summer.
The expert female seamstress from the Marine Corps uniform shop posed for a picture with our senior Drill Instructor, GySgt Burley. She was the best DI.
The day before we graduated, we got to let our hair down, literally and figuratively. We had fun line dancing in our squad bay. I loved those red shorts. Everything now is green-on-green.
I was selected to be the rifleman in the color guard. That's me on the very far right next to the Marine Corps flag.
After graduation, those of us who were getting commissioned changed into our Service "C" uniform and went to our commissioning ceremony. Those who were going back to finish college departed for home.
Perhaps being a veteran gives us a greater understanding for what it means to make the ultimate sacrifice. I know what these men and women have undergone as Marines. I know what to expect from anyone who has ever earned the title of Marine. They know what to expect of me. And I think about those who have gone before us. Those who have made the ultimate sacrifce.
The Marines' Hymn
From the Halls of Montezuma
To the shores of Tripoli
We fight our country's battles
In the air, on land, and sea;
First to fight for right and freedom
And to keep our honor clean;
We are proud to claim the title
Of United States Marine.
Our flag's unfurled to every breeze
From dawn to setting sun;
We have fought in every clime and place
Where we could take a gun.
In the snow of far-off Northern lands
And in sunny tropic scenes;
You will find us always on the job --
The United States Marines.
Here's health to you and to our Corps
Which we are proud to serve;
In many a strife we've fought for life
And never lost our nerve.
If the Army and the Navy
Ever look on Heaven's scenes,
They will find the streets are guarded
By United States Marines.
Semper fidelis to my brothers and sisters at arms. Please be sure you take a moment during the three-day weekend to make a silent thank you to those who gave their life for future generations of Americans.