Dr. Bill Atwood

Semper Fi

Last week while I was at the local True Value store, I noticed the hat worn by a man in front of me that stated he was a veteran of the second World War. I thanked this man for his service and my freedom. He had to be in his late 80s or 90s but his mind and wit were sharp. He shared that he did not have combat experience, that he had been assigned to help protect the Miramar Naval Air Station Tower.

I reminded him that he served where his Uncle Sam sent him and he chuckled when I complimented him that no Japanese attacked what he was protecting. We bought our items and said goodbye. I never got his name. He is one of the 1% crowd to whom we owe so much. In fact, we probably owe them virtually everything. We are free and when this man was a teenager, Hitler, Mussolini, and Hirohito wanted to defeat us.

The Greatest Generation went to work and defeated the Axis Powers, then they came home, built the greatest economy the world has ever seen, saying it was their privilege.

This Friday and Saturday we get to take time to honor the sacrifice, service, sacrifice, heroism, sacrifice, dedication, sacrifice, courage, and sacrifice that every single veteran in this nation’s history has displayed.

From April of 1775 at Lexington and Concord to the several spots around this globe they stand the watch. In May we honored the 1,050,000 war dead and the millions of war wounded. On Nov. 11, we honor all who wear or whoever wore the uniform of our land. Be sure to say a prayer of thanksgiving for them. The Little Church will be the site of a service of Thanksgiving to which all are welcome.

On Friday, Nov. 10, the Marine Corps will celebrate their 242nd birthday. They have been around longer than the United States. The area Marines will gather for dinner and ceremony that is very moving, part of which involves the cutting of the cake. The tradition is for the oldest and the youngest Marine in attendance to both cut the cake and then serve each other a slice. Marines around the world share in this tradition begun years ago under orders from Commandant Lejuene.

This year will have a very special meaning for me. Nov. 10 will be the 75th anniversary of my dad’s first slice of Marine Corps birthday cake. He had just joined up following the attack on Pearl Harbor and when Nov. 10, 1942 arrived, dad and a few thousand other Marines were entrenched in battle at Guadalcanal. It was a tough battle but the first victory for the American war effort. During the six- month-and-two-day battle, 60,000 Americans fought ... 7,000 died and 7,800 were wounded.

Guadalcanal is but one reason we honor the Marines. Remember Montezuma’s Halls, Tripoli, Tinian, Iwo Jima, Okinawa, Chosin, and a few thousand other battles and then tell a Marine thanks.

If I don’t remind you to contribute to the Toys for Tots campaign this year, I will be facing a rather tough burly crowd of Marines during the birthday celebration. All toys stay here in the mountains, so drop off a new unwrapped gift into one of the many boxes around town.

Every day I offer a prayer of thanks to all veterans for my freedom. On the 10th and 11th I would encourage you all to do the same.

Thank you, veterans. Happy Birthday, Marines. Semper Fi.

Did I mention their sacrifice?