Just a Marine

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, July 5, 2005

Whether you support the war in Iraq or not, you must have a heart for the military personnel stationed to do battle on that piece of parched sand.

While we stand around and complain because they are there, they have no choice in the matter. They are doing their Uncle Sam’s bidding and when you think of it, consider that some are there against their own wishes, too.

As the daughter, niece and sister to military men, I’ve seen its effects and heard about war. Father and uncle; World War II in Germany and Japan. Two brothers; both sustained wounds in Viet Nam.

One of my brothers is still a Marine. The other – well, his injuries got him shipped home where he still suffers from health problems that debilitate him at times. Now, any Marine will tell you that he’s never an Ex-Marine, but instead a former Marine. That’s how proud these men and women are of the colors they wear for our nation; the good old Red, White and Blue.

Like I said, my brothers were both injured and you’d think that was enough. One even signed up for a second tour of duty in Viet Nam. Crazy? No, only a Marine.

Growing up military, you are privileged to see and hear more about the reasons why we are in strange lands, fighting battles that seem so useless to us in this land of freedom and plenty. You also hear of the men and women who have no one but their military brothers and sisters.

They are the ones left out, with no &uot;real&uot; family back home. They are the ones who must rely on the charity of their military buddies to share photos, cards, letters and gifts with them. Mail call is just another disappointment to them.

How do I know all that? Because my brother’s friend was killed in Viet Nam, but not before I made sure that he received mail to open right alongside my brother. He got the same cards, notes of praise for his patriotism, cookies, toothbrushes and &uot;good&uot; soap from home. He never failed to send a quick note back. Not much in the way of words because he didn’t really know what to say of such kindness. Just &uot;Thanks so much,&uot; or a note about the cookies he’d enjoyed.

How can we forget these young men and women who are now in a desert instead of a swampy jungle fighting for their lives and the lives of those in that desert nation? They deserve so much for the sacrifice they’ve made of their lives, putting them on hold to go fight a battle they don’t want any more than we do.

I would like to urge everyone who can drive or catch a ride with someone else to attend and take part in the VFW’s July 9, events at their lodge on Route 158 in Gates County. No matter what you like, they will have it there for you; yard sale, bake sale, car wash, and don’t forget to take a turn at &uot;dunking&uot; the sheriff and his fellow law enforcement personnel.

It is an event that sounds like a lot of fun and it is certain for a good cause. It will pay for cards and small gifts to go to our fighting men and women in Iraq. Please, remember them and give what you can, and remember too, pray for them.