Today is Veterans Day, the one day of the year that we, as a country, are supposed to take time out to thank all of those amongst us that served our great nation in the military.
For those of you who may not know, yesterday was the 233rd birthday of the United States Marine Corps. The Marines were founded at Tun Tavern (appropriately enough) in Philadelphia, PA on November 10, 1775 in the opening months of the American Revolution.
One of the benefits of living where we live is that I am reminded almost daily of the sacrifice the Marines, as well as her sister services, make on our behalf. Whether it is hearing a tactical jet head out on a late night training mission or seeing on the local news the report of yet another unit either coming from or heading out on deployment, each is a reminder that there is always a sacrifice for freedom. It may be as small as missing tucking the kids in at bedtime, or as large as heading off to war, these sacrifices occur daily, with most of us blissfully unaware.
We are also fortunate to call several current or former Marines friends. Some of them are here, and some are away on deployment. I count it an honor to be able to assist, in some small way, on the home front with wives and kids who are left behind. Hopefully, in some small way, it gives them some peace of mind that their loved ones are being cared for while they are away.
Living where we do also provides me with endless examples to use to teach my son about the sacrifices that our military makes on our behalf, and why they deserve our utmost respect and admiration. To that end, one my favorite quotes of all time, attributed to George Orwell, is, “People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf.” We are fortunate that we continue to produce men and women that are willing to face down the barbarians at the gates, to put country over self, to put honor and duty over self-centeredness and irresponsibility.
It is fitting, I think, that the birthday of the Marines is one day removed from Veteran’s Day. Many of the battles that have made the Marines famous bring into sharp contrast why all those who have worn the uniform of this nation deserve our gratitude and thanks. Names like Belleau Wood, Okinawa, Iwo Jima, Chosin Resevoir, Hue, Beirut, and Fallujah are famous both for the ferocity of the battle, but more importantly, for the strength and resolve that was displayed in order to produce victory. It is true that there is “no better friend, no worse enemy” than the United States Marines.
So, on this Veteran’s Day, I hope that you get a chance to thank a veteran or two and wish a Marine Happy Birthday and Semper Fi. It is these folks that understand, better than many of us in this country I am afraid, the truth displayed on the Korean War Memorial: