Tonight is Christmas Eve and my sons will be working ... and tomorrow, too.
So it will be, too, with many of your sons and daughters. The holidays can be a tough time and I wish I really had a sure-fire way to help anyone who is fighting a case of the blues. Prayer has always worked best…Continue
I first met the colonel when my sons were deployed to Iraq. Those were the days it was easy to let people get on my nerves, especially when they tried to be helpful.
Some tried to be reassuring, saying “the situation” wasn’t as dangerous as it once was. Others took a different tact, telling us they knew what my family was going through because their children were enrolled in college in a different state and they hardly ever got to see them.
My wife, who is smart…Continue
I was getting a cup of coffee this morning and glanced at the calendar hanging on the wall, covering the spot where a wall-mounted phone used to hang. My wife, who is the keeper of all events and dates in our family, had printed the news that it was five years ago that our youngest Marine had returned home from…Continue
It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything, but I have to share:
Our Marine, who is a drill instructor at MCRD San Diego, was home on leave this week. India Company had just graduated a new class of Marines, and our sergeant decided to fly home to Tennessee. Home-cooked meals and lots of sleep were on the schedule. (DIs sometimes skip meals and sleep, working 20-hour days to make sure their recruits learn how to be Marines.)
Still our sergeant, who is in his…Continue
It had been six years, one month and one day since my last Marine Corps graduation. It seemed like a lifetime ago. That had been on a blistering hot day aboard Marine Corps Recruiting Depot – Parris Island when I stood in the reviewing stands with a lump in my throat and my wife’s fingers digging holes in my arm as we watched our two sons march across the parade deck with their fellow brand-new Marines.
And now here I was again, attending another graduation, only this time at…Continue
It’s the last week of June and I’m standing in the chapel at Dogwood Canyon, a nature preserve near Branson, MO, listening to a guide tell how local craftsmen built the structure out of cedar logs. It’s a hot day with temperatures pushing into the mid-90s, the humidity index is following close behind and the cool of the sanctuary is a welcome respite. My wife and daughter have wandered off with a tour guide to get a closer inspection of the walls (in my book if you’ve seen one cedar log…Continue
Our Marine sergeant has been home less than a day, and already his mother and I have bundled him into her car for a road trip. Of course, after enduring years of travel by military ship or aircraft to places as diverse as Iraq, Germany, the Philippines and Alaska, he doesn’t complain. Traveling is a way of life for him.
In fact, he insisted on the trip. He’s going to see grandparents. It’s been a long time, too.
Last night, his flight from California landed in…Continue
Note: I posted this last Thanksgiving, but thought it worthy of a repeat on Thanksgiving this year, and no, not just because I was too lazy to think up something new for the holiday. (OK, maybe I'm a little bit lazy....) The real reason I wanted to re-post this blog was because I wanted to update the status of the two men I mentioned. Both were deployed in Afghanistan, one with the Army and the other with the Marines. Both had something to say, and what they said bears repeating on this and…Continue
One of my sons and his wife were home visiting recently when his cell phone chirped. He looked down, smiled and then read the message aloud: “Happy Anniversary!” It was from his brother, who is stationed at Camp Pendleton.
My daughter looked puzzled so I asked her: “Don’t you remember where you were six years ago?”
“Hey, I was only nine,” she said. “What’s to remember?”
“You were at Parris Island,” my wife said, “watching your brothers…Continue
Images of Marines from the West Coast:
1.) A week’s vacation is drawing to a close and my daughter, wife and I are in line to board our flight from San Diego to Dallas-Fort Worth to Nashville when I notice the lady standing behind us in a brand new Marine Mom T-shirt. Standing next to her is her equally brand new Marine, his Eagle, Globe and Anchor awarded only a few days before. I congratulate him on his achievement and then ask, “So, how was the Crucible?” He shakes his head,…Continue
There are all kinds of calendars with a myriad of dates and notable events. The wall calendar in our kitchen, for example, denotes a wide range of traditional holidays and celebrations from Christmas to Independence Day to Halloween. My computer is set up to tell me – simply because I’m a curious sort – what is happening each day of the year. Today as I write this, I am secure in the knowledge that it is not only World Press Freedom Day, but National Raspberry Popover Day. Somehow I find…Continue
Whitney Houston is dead, and sure I'm sorry. And I guess I'm not alone because it seems like the whole world mourns.
No doubt it is sad, but to me even sadder is the fact that in the last four weeks 10 U.S. Marines fell in Afghanistan and it seems -- outside their immediate families and fellow Marines -- only a few mourn them or even notice. Go figure.
Photographs from a war…
There’s a photograph floating around the Internet, circulating among a group of Marines and their friends. To many of them, especially the infantrymen, the photo speaks in stark and graphic terms what it means to be a Marine.
The picture, taken earlier this fall in Afghanistan, shows a Marine flat on his back in the dirt. Flecks of dried blood mark his torso, his neck and his hands. His shirt is pulled up and in the right side of his chest is what medics…Continue
Welcome to the family. And make no mistake, when your son or daughter becomes a Marine, you become a Marine family. And if you didn’t realize that Marine families are different than other – civilian – families, then you need to come to terms with your new reality. If you don’t, then the ride you are on – the one for which your Marine volunteered, but to which you were drafted – can get bumpy.
Think of yourself as the member of a fairly exclusive club: the loved ones of a Marine. And…Continue
Two Christmases ago my two sons were married within a few days of one another. One got married on Dec. 21, the other on Dec. 26. It was the first time these two Marines had seen one another in two years. Both had been deployed to Iraq, once within 10 miles on one another, but they never saw each other…Continue
Just as it is today, the United States of America was facing dark and troubling times in January of 1941 when President Franklin Delano Roosevelt appeared before a joint session of Congress to deliver his state of the Union address. It was in that speech that FDR summed up four basic rights which every citizen of the U.S. enjoys:
1.) Freedom of Speech,
2.) Freedom of Worship,
3.) Freedom from Want, and
4.) Freedom from Fear.
Each of those…Continue
Veteran. It’s a simple word, really.
Turn to any dictionary and it will look something like this:
Veteran (vet·er·an) Noun: 1. a person who has had long service or experience in an occupation, office, or the like: a veteran of the police force; a veteran of many sports competitions. 2. a person who has served in a military force, especially one who has fought in a war: a Vietnam veteran.…Continue
For a long time Veterans Day has been one of those holidays that almost seem like a second-thought on most calendars. You’ve seen them, haven’t you? Christmas sports a festive tree, Thanksgiving a plump turkey and Halloween a happy jack-o’-lantern. Valentine’s Day gets a pair of hearts or a fat cupid and President’s Day a picture of – take your pick – Washington or Lincoln.
But Veterans Day is printed in plain black-and-white. Nothing fancy, nothing elaborate. That’s probably…Continue
Church had just wrapped up this morning, and I was leading my family in a charge up the aisle toward the exit. Normally, we’re among the last to leave, lingering in the narthex or on the parking lot to talk with friends, but today the service had gone a little longer than usual and I already had missed most of the first quarter of the Tennessee Titans game on TV. Our friends understand this: usually I’m as slow as a turtle and ready to visit, but when football season rolls around I’ll be…Continue
I had one of those moments the other day when everything is sailing along smoothly and suddenly life throws a punch you aren’t expecting. And then, just when you think you’ve gotten up from the floor, here comes another haymaker from another direction entirely. I guess what I’m saying is that sometimes Semper Gumby only stretches so far.
The first happened at soccer practice. It was the first outing of the season and the team – naturally – was rusty. Still, the players were…Continue