So I've been pushing hard these last couple of days to wrap up the new book. It's a labor of love so really the only thing that hurts are my eyes. I was in the middle of describing the background of one of the main characters, MSgt Willy Trent, when I started laughing. Why? Because it reminded me of all the different stories we've all heard from fellow Marines.
Think about it, we're all Marines but we're all SO different in our backgrounds. I served with guys from New Orleans, California, Massachusetts, North Carolina, etc.. No two Marines had the same story.
But when you look at a Marine in uniform, standing in formation, holy crap! We all look the same! High and tights, serious expressions, perfectly creased cammies...you remember.
The thing that we all have in common is that we've all earned the title of Marine. It's a beautiful thing. We all come from different towns, different races, different economic situations and different families. Yet, we come together and share the same bond. The bond of being a Marine.
The same holds true when you leave the Corps. How many times have I bumped into a former Marine (they come in all shapes and size too: young, old, fit, fat...) and you either just nod a silent salute or throw out of quick "Semper Fi." It happens to me a lot. Maybe it's the license plate with the EGA on it. Maybe it's the sticker on my window. It doesn't matter.
We subtly make ourselves known to each other and the bond grows on.
I'll finish with a quick tangent. I remember back in the 90's when there was all the talk about how spoiled young Americans were getting and that we'd never see the likes of the amazing courage and sacrifice as "The Greatest Generation." I remember thinking that while I was immensely proud of the WWII generation, I knew that our younger generation would step up to the challenge when called.
That's happened and then some. Those same kids that spent hour playing Nintendo and XBox. Those same kids that ate two out of three meals at McDonalds. Those same kids that so many wrote off as a burden on our society.
Those same kids stepped up to the challenge of the Post 9/11 world and now shine for the world to see. They now stand on that wall and ensure our safety and freedom. They've been unleashed.
Let's not ever forget the sacrifices of any one of our generations.
Let's not ever forget that first and foremost we are Americans and that freedom is NOT free.
Let's not ever forget the sacrifice of Marines and their families on a daily basis, doing what they do to keep the wolves at bay.