Friday, November 10, 2006

Semper Fi

November 10th is Marine Corps Day. The Corps was founded at Tun's Tavern, in Philadelphia, on November 10, 1775.

There's something special about the Marine Corps. They say there are no ex-Marines, only former Marines. A friend who served for four years as a Marine officer, including time in Vietnam, said he never met a gunnery sergeant that he didn't address as "Sir." A reporter for CBS News, in a series on the United States Military, said that he'd told a Marine Sergeant about his Army counterpart who said that he'd never seen a Marine tank or truck or APC that wasn't smoking, making odd noises and dripping oil and transmission fluid. "The Marine seemed to take that as a compliment."

Tonight on CBS, there was a story about Marine boot camp. A drill sergeant asked what honor was. One recruit stood and responded, "Honor is doing the right thing when no one can see, sir!"

Marines aren't perfect, of course; seven of them have been charged with murder in one incident in Iraq, and several have pleaded guilty. But, as Kipling said of another fighting force, "Single men in barracks don't turn into plaster saints."

Marines are fighting, and all too frequently dying in Iraq. They will do that, until they are withdrawn, and then they'll go to the next place we send them, to fight and die for us, for their buddies and the Corps. We might not like what they do, but let us respect them for their willingness to do what few of us would.

"And when he gets to Heaven,
St. Peter he will tell,
'Another Marine reporting, sir,'
I've served my time in Hell."
From a Marine Grave on Guadalcanal

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