My dad is no better than any other single Marine. He is not a combat hero or an academy graduate; he is just a Marine through and through. He plans to be buried in his dress blues - the same attire that he first wore in 1937. That is how he sees himself entering heaven. That is how I see it, too.
I never lived on a military installation but I was born on a base, Sandpoint Naval Air Station in Seattle, Washington. Dad retired in 1959 after completing 22 years in the service. Some might think it tiresome that he continues to interject “old war stories” into today’s conversations but his family realizes that was when dad felt the strongest, the bravest and the proudest – with Marine Corps blood coursing through his veins. Who would ever want that feeling to end and who would not try to keep that feeling alive with the retelling?
Some who served their wartime enlistment and then went on to do “more important” things with their lives sometimes seem to have a dismissive attitude about those who pursued full time military careers. It amazes me that they so soon forgot that a standing military is one of the things that ensured them the privilege of pursuing those other interests.
In this day of U.S. military deployments around the world, and more being planned, it is well to take a moment to consider the individual soldier, sailor, airmen or Marine, which you may know personally, and the family that stays behind to worry and wait.
In my earliest memory of being alive my dad was in Korea for 11 months. I know that I knew him before he left but I have no conscious memories of him before he returned from Korea in 1954. No early memories of my dad because he was serving our country. There must be thousands of current day children experiencing the same thing.
I mentioned earlier the “Marine Corps blood” coursing through my father’s veins. I obviously inherited some of that, and even if I had a complete transfusion it would not alter that for me!
I’m proud of my father and I’m proud that he is still a Marine.
“Semper Fi, dad!”