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October 30, 2009

Pride, Love and Loss: The Making of a Marine Parent

Who best bear his mild yoke,
they serve him best. His state
Is kingly: thousands at his bidding speed,
And post o'er land and ocean without rest;
They also serve who only stand and wait.

- John Milton

No one describes the mingled joy, pride, and terror of being a Marine parent better than Jarhead Dad. From the euphoria of a sun splashed parade deck at Parris Island to the aching loneliness of a long deployment, he captures the feelings of those who wait patiently for the return of a loved one from the field of battle:

I remember like it was yesterday when our young Marine came marching out on the parade deck of Parris Island sporting a brand new chevron proclaiming him a PFC in the United States Marine Corps! A merit stripe earned in the sand fleas and swamps of South Carolina. God how proud I was. I bet I stood a full two inches taller. His Mom squeezing my hand harder as his Training Battalion passed the stands. The tears of pride I enjoyed wiping from her cheeks. The virality, the strength, a man where a boy should stand. It was all there.

From that day forward our home became a staging area of sorts for the next four years and even now. Young Marines we met on that very same Parade Deck stopping in on their way one place or another knowing they would get a home cooked meal and lodging with others of their kind. After SOI they came in bunches, full of themselves, cocky, with the innate ability to use the F word as a noun, adjective, verb, adverb. All in the same sentence! Vulgar? Not for a minute. These are young men that enlisted in a time their country is at war, knowing full well what they were facing and where they were headed. They are young men "with the bark" on as the saying goes from my generation. Respectful to Mom and Sis to the max, loving them after minutes of meeting them. You could see the protection trait in them even then. The seriousness they held in their minds of what they were doing was embodied in their Moms and Sisters, Girlfriends and Fiancees, Wives and Daughters.

As the saying goes, read the whole thing.

Posted by Cassandra at October 30, 2009 07:57 AM

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