This weekend we get to pause and reflect on two groups of heroes. Actually one of the groups is a part of the other.
On Nov. 10 the United States Marine Corps will celebrate its birthday. They have been around since before the United States became the United States.
In a tavern in 1775, the Marines formed and have served our nation faithfully ever since. The Marines are a fierce fighting force and their reputation around the world is well deserved.
They have a reason to be proud of their history. Never a mutiny from their ranks and a willingness to go wherever the Commander-in-Chief orders them to go. I enjoy their attitude, especially in the older Marines. They are never former Marines, as they have the mantra, “Once a Marine, always a Marine.”
Recently I saw a bumper sticker that said the vehicle’s driver was not as lean, and not as mean but STILL a Marine. The driver must have been in his 70s but he would still be a force to reckon with.
On Monday, Nov. 11 we honor all the veterans who have ever served in the military. Back in May, we honored the war wounded, and those who gave the last full measure of devotion. Our nation originally set the 11th aside to mark the end of the hostilities of World War I. It was called Armistice Day to celebrate the end of the war to end all wars.
War did not end and so our soldiers went back again and again to protect the American way of life. Whether or not a veteran served on the field of battle we owe them a great deal.
They went where Uncle Sam sent them. There are many jobs in the military that are supportive of the missions and each job is important. The point is that those veterans stepped up to the plate, swore their allegiance and served this nation.
We are free because of them. This weekend please take the time to honor those who sacrificed for us. Attend a memorial service, watch a parade, have a picnic, call a veteran and thank them. I make it a point to thank veterans when I see them in town. They always are humble about accepting our thanks and appreciation. Generally, I hear them say, “It was my pleasure” or “We just did our job” or the one that really hits the mark “The ones who really deserve our thanks did not come home.”
So Marines enjoy your gala tomorrow evening, share your stories, enjoy the cake, and remember that a grateful nation admires you all. From Lexington and Concord, Mexico and Tripoli, to the continents all over the globe you have served as liberators and never as conquerors and you have done a remarkable job.
Veterans of all branches, we thank you for your willingness to run into battle zones, sail the seas, fly into harm’s way all to serve a people who can’t comprehend the horrors of war. One lesson I learned at an early age was that there were two people willing to die for me. One was Jesus Christ and the other was a veteran of the United States.
I thank God every single day for my blessings and one of the greatest blessings of my life is a result of the efforts of their service.
Thank you, thank you, thank you.