by Andy Weddington
Saturday, 19 November 2016
I stand fearlessly for small dogs, the American Flag, motherhood and the Bible. That's why people love me. Art Linkletter
Sometimes a commentary strikes a chord - it resonates - and a reader is moved to opine.
That happened this morning in reaction to 'Say - Can You See, By Don's Early Light' - http://acoloneloftruth.blogspot.com/2016/11/say-can-you-see-by-dons-early-light.html
Amidst rigorous exercise, on a machine that does not recognize age nor fatigue, arrived the following comment for review prior to posting ...
"The Flag." Why does it always arouse a sense in me I cannot shake? Was it because of my upbringing, or my early education? If not any of those, then who or what? I remember standing on my board in front of the drill team at 8th & I as the color guard glided across my front as though on a magic carpet on their way to center walk to that stirring tune by George M. Cohan, "You're a Grand Ole Flag." I would visibly quiver, shake, and tear up Friday after Friday for two parade seasons. To this very day, the flag or even Cohan's march causes the same reactions. It's probably because I served, I saw horrific sights, I saw men do extraordinary feats for their fellow man, and I shed some blood. I witnessed things the whinners of today can only imagine and could not handle since there was no safe spaces. To this very day, when the colors are presented or we sing the National Anthem I tear. And you know what? I don't hide the tears, I'm an American, and damn it, it's my flag! I'll cry if I want to.
As the author complied, fully, with this forum's 'rules of civility' - including name - a word.
I met him about 25 years ago. "Met" is about it. I, by invitation of another, attended Jim's retirement. Though not knowing me, after the ceremony I found him, introduced myself while shaking hands, and congratulated him on a remarkable career. We parted.
Twenty-two years later, no contact whatsoever in between, I received an email from Jim.
A commentary had been forwarded to him. It struck a chord - it resonated. He wrote to me. And he wrote to me not possibly remembering our but seconds encounter on what was an emotional day for him.
But I remembered instantly.
Why did Jim write me?
He wrote because I had written a public letter to the commandant of the Marine Corps. http://acoloneloftruth.blogspot.com/2013/06/a-public-letter-to-commandant-of-marine.html
In that letter I said things on the minds of Marines - spanning generations - that had yet to be said. Somebody needed to say it - civilly. A deceased general whispered it was my duty. Who am I to disobey a late commandant?!
And so came Jim's note of support. And an offer.
He asked to send me a copy of his book. That he did. Inscribed. It sits atop my desk surrounded by Marine things - and fronted by a table top size display of colors - Country and Corps and Navy.
Jim's book - We'll All Die As Marines - One Marine's Journey From Private to Colonel - I cannot recommend strongly enough.
If you think the dynamic duo of Bill O'Reilly and Martin Dugard, of the 'Killing' series, pen a page-turner, well, you (as we say in the South) ain't read nothin' yet! https://www.amazon.com/Well-All-Die-As-Marines/dp/1475956924
In full disclosure, that is an obligatory, non-compensated endorsement - Marine for Marine. It's what brothers do.
To Jim's reflective, thoughtful comments offered this morning, I second. As would any Marine. Thank you, Sir, for opining. And for decades of faithful and honorable service to Country and Corps.
In closing ...
See a Marine. Any Marine. What are you thinking?
Well, know they have been trained in compassion. And in killing. Both necessary in service to country. And both tear the eye.
Too, know this - Marines are the best at both. That's two reasons why people, and not just Americans, love Marines.