Saturday, January 17, 2009
Tuesday night I got to hang out with a few good men. The local detachment of The Marine Corps League had their annual installation of officers and I've been "recruited" to serve as detachment chaplain. The MCL is made up of marines no longer on active duty whose purpose is to support the Corps in various ways. I say "no longer on active duty" because "Once a marine, always a marine".
At the ceremony I met a WWII veteran of the Seabees. Our commandant is a Korean War vet. Looks to me like there are several Viet Nam era marines, and present was a young man still active and just returned from Iraq.
I'm an "associate member" of the detachment because I was never a marine. But until I was 17 I lived in the home of a marine. Dad exited the Corps a Gunnery Sergeant (think Clint Eastwood in "Heartbreak Ridge") just before my senior year of high school. So I'm well versed in marine stuff. These old marines accept me because "if your daddy was a marine, that's good enough for us". Actually my great-grandfather was a marine, too - a veteran of the Boxer Rebellion. He was one of only 295 marines sent to quell the attacks against Christian missionaries in China in 1900. So to be associated with these leathernecks is a personal honor.
You've probably heard the Marines' Hymn ("From the halls of Montezuma..."), but have you ever heard the last words of the last verse?
If the Army and the Navy
Ever look on heaven's scenes;
They will find the streets are guarded
by United States Marines.