I joined the gym last February 2010. My doc had told me that either I go on a diet or exercise more. Of course, I choice to exercise more and began to train for a USMC Mud Run back in September. My team and I did very well, but there is still the matter of the spare tire I developed after leaving the Corps back in 2000. My motivation for 2011 is that, this year, my 20 year high school reunion is the end of September, and the USMC Mud Run is 3 weeks later in October. So for now, I gotta feel the BURN…
Archive for the ‘Story’ category
I had a quick thought and idea on Christmas Eve and got out the camera and tripod. Since I had a the tree up and it was positioned perfectly next to the fireplace, it was time for a cloning shot. You’ll have to excuse the blue painter’s tape around the fireplace since we (and I mean wifey) are painting the house’s interior trim. Anyway feel free to comment.
It was pitch black outside and all I could hear was the crashing of the waves on Gold Beach. I closed my eyes, trying to hear the chatter of the machine guns as the spit out fire towards the growing waves of human flesh clawing their way forward.Opening my eyes again, I tried to imagine rows of landing craft rushing towards me. Yet all I could see was the lights of a French fishing trawler, lazily bouncing through the water. It was 1987, and I was 13 years old. I had come to Europe that fall on my family’s version of the National Lampoon European Vacation (yes we did get caught in a traffic circle in Paris going 6 times around before exiting). Six countries in 14 days and roughly 2000 miles worth of driving. Although I have many “firsts” accomplished during this trip, the only thing I wanted to see was this span of beach.
If you are my age, or older, you’ll remember that our introductions to World War II, were through films made in the 50’s, 60’s, and 70’s. Tora, Tora, Tora…Sands of Iwo Jima…the Longest Day, were all done in black and white. Nothing was computer generated and the special effects were primitive. The only thing I requested from my parents during this trip was to be taken to the Normandy Beaches. I wanted to see what those thousands of soldiers saw on that fateful day of June 6th 1944. I started out at Gold beach and the next day I went to Omaha and Utah beaches. Standing on Omaha beach, I could only imagine the enormity of the task that those grunts went through. The German pillboxes are empty but they still bore the signs of the intense fighting that took place. Shell markings and bullet holes still remain, along with a beached burnt out landing craft still there. I went to the National Cemetary nearby and although I didn’t see an old guy collapse crying near Capt. Miller’s grave (movie Saving Private Ryan), I will never forget the hundreds of rows of crosses and the eerily quiet sound I experienced. I went to Arnhem and tried to figure out what they meant by a Bridge too Far. Funny how, years later,I can understand the German being spoken in those movies without having to utilize the subtitles.
When I was 8 years old, I went to Pearl Harbor. There is a rule that states that persons younger than 6 could not go to the Arizona Memorial. I actually witnessed two groups of elderly gentlemen, one American, the other Japanese get into a heated argument and tussel while I stood there trying to imagine that there were over 1000 men entombed below me. I’ve been to the Bridge of the river Kwai (it’s a mile and half away from the original) and have even seen the British fortress in Singapore. I’ve stood on the walls of Fort Macon thinking how absurd it was that they felt secure not thinking they could be flanked from the “land” side. I stood on the earthen walls of Fort Fisher trying to imagine how it took the US Marines 4 tries to finally defeat the fort. I’ve even stood inside the Baltimore Harbor looking towards Fort McHenry and knowing that the British felt like fools for not being able to take it.
History. Most of you absolutely hated the subject in high school, and avoided it in college. A subject taught so watered down, you couldn’t tell me who was the US president after Abe Lincoln was assissinated BUT you could tell me how many seasons American Idol has been on and who won the 3rd one. History is often fueled by people’s passion and interpreted incorrectly the same way. For me history is simply the event. We all know that the twin towers in New York City were brought down. That is the event, it cannot be disputed. What cannot be agreed upon is, who did it. Anyway, I feel I was just about to go on a tangent so let me get back to the subject.
Here are the cold hard facts. I was born in the United States. I was born in Texas and raised in North Carolina. By default, making me a Southerner. I enlisted into the US Marine Corps at age 18. Watching movies, reading books, and traveling to different historical landmarks has made me wholely appreciate the sacrifices of many generations of Americans that lived before me. You cannot step on places like Gettysburg and not feel the enormous sadness of entire bloodlines being wiped out with one volley of 58 calibre musket fire. While at the same time knowing that as Americans, they fought and stood up for what they believed in. For me, that was enough. I felt that for a country to give “me” such liberties and freedoms, I should feel obligated to repay them, even if it meant my life.
I guess I had always wanted to be a Marine since I saw my uncle in his Dress Blues at age 4. I said that would be me one day. In high school, I latched onto the visiting Marine recruiters making sure that I wanted in real bad. I was a two sport athlete and ready for any challenges that lay ahead. Then Iraq invaded Kuwait in my senior year and it was on…This was my chance, go fight for my country and repay my blood debt. It of course was not meant to be…It was over in 100 hours and I still had 4 months till graduation. My uncle was killed in an accident at Quantico, two days after I turned 18. I never looked back. My mother cried on the telephone when she found out, my father was just pissed because he wanted me to go to college. I bent a little and and did both. I made it through literally by the skin of my toenails and earned the coveted title Marine.
For me, 8 1/2 years was literally boring. I was a Marine during the Clinton era. Not much going on and the only excitement was getting orders to Somalia. I did however fulfill another promise. My unit was based out of Raleigh North Carolina. A 330 man supply unit with nothing (really) to do during training weekends. I got into a little trouble due to the monotony of it all and decided to be a better Marine by joining the color guard. So every month, my little detail would go down to the capital(NC) area and participate in the POW/MIA ceremony at the Vietnam Memorial. This ceremony is simply where participants would read off all the dead and missing Carolina natives from the Vietnam War. After years of being the port rifleman, I actually was promoted to the NCOIC of this ceremony. Other times we’d participate in parades throughout the region, including strangely enough a Cinco de Mayo parade. Marine Corps Balls were always my favorite and even events that had camera crews filming inches from your face. Funerals were often taxing due to having to be stone faced yet compassionate towards the grieving families. For me though, it was an honor, being bestowed by strangers to allow me to help lay to rest, a warrior that went before me. I remember every single funeral I did in those 8 1/2 years. I don’t remember every name or even one name. To me though, that was history.
I remember is high school how the school newspaper found out that I was pro Helms(Helms vs. Gantt race), pro war, and joining the Marine Corps after graduation. I had countless people approaching me after the “sound byte” and berating me and chastising me for my opinions. I never backed down and interestingly enough, 3 of my friends actually joined the Navy after graduation. Your are damn right I point that out everytime it comes up too. I am absolutely appalled at most Americans for their views on practically everyting. During Desert Shield/Desert Storm we had “everyone” flying the American flag from their car antennae trying to “bury” the ghosts of Vietnam. As quickly as it appeared, the faux patriotism quickly disappeared with me constantly getting fussed out by parents ,when calling an applicant’s home while on recruiting duty, because there was no way their son was going into the military. The one thing that annoys me to this day is someone finding out you were in the service and saying,” Well I was gonna join but (fill in the blank)….” It doesn’t make me respect you nor does it make me connect with you. If you are one of those types…just don’t do it. I was honorably discharged in 2000. Obviously the events of 9/11 happened. Afghanistan and Iraq now have US forces in them. There yet again was the reemergence of faux patriotism…instead of flags on cars, we had magnetic yellow ribbons. That sooned disappeared when it was popular to hate Bush and to hear people say,”I support the Troops, but don’t support the War.” Newsflash: Soldiers and Marines don’t like to hear this statement b/c in reality, you don’t support them at all. There are countless anti war protests with former soldiers and Marines (some in wearing their former uniform) taking place even today. Although these same individuals served their country, they’ve lost sight of what it meant to serve their country, choosing instead to say that their country “lied to them”. This is not honoring your brother that has sacrificed and gone before you. You cannot mix politics and military service while in uniform.
I have friends that suffer from PTSD and are alcoholics due to what they’ve seen and been through. The thing is, they know the risks. Suicide rate is up high, there is no money to treat every case to PTSD at the VA. Barracks are in shambles. I knew Marines that were on food stamps and working at pizza delivery places after work, just to have some extra money. Yet peoples’ political passions are strong and their support for the military man, weak.
My whole point in this is, it’s another Memorial Day. When they play the National Anthem at whatever ballpark you are going to this weekend, take your hat off, shut up, and stand still for those 2 1/2 minutes. If you run into a veteran and are truly thankful for his service, give him a strong handshake and say thanks. Say a prayer to whatever God you worship and thank him for giving you ancestors that stood up and fought for that 93% lean beef patty your grilling out on the Weber. If you don’t know much about your own family, research it. You might find that your great great granddad made a stand at Little Round Top or shot down a Japanese fighter defending the USS Nevada during the attack on Pearl Harbor. I believe in God, County, the Corps. I believe in defending the Constituition of the United States. I believe in fighting for and upholding the rights of all “American” citizens, even when I don’t share their views. I made a difference. Those are who I will always remember on Memorial Day. All Gave Some, Some Gave All.
A man who lives at Lake Conroe (50 miles north of Houston ) saw a ball bouncing around strangely on the surface of the lake and went to investigate.
It turned out to be a flathead catfish that had apparently tried to eat a basketball, which then became stuck in its mouth. The fish was almost exhausted from trying to dive.It was unable to, because the buoyancy of the ball would always bring him back up to the surface.
The man tried unsuccessfully to simply take the ball out.
So, his wife cut the ball in order to deflate the ball to release the hungry catfish.
Remember to be kinder than necessary
Because everyone bites off more
Than they can chew sometime in life….