Tuesday, February 23, 2010


Sixty-five years ago today this happened on top of a mountain called Suribachi on an island called Iwo Jima.

When I was a much younger fellow my parents took me to Washington DC. We took in all the sights and saw most of the monuments. Across the river in Arlington is this sculpture, the Marine Corps War Memorial. It's a powerful work, and I was moved by it. What moved me the most was seeing another visitor to the Memorial. He stood ramrod straight as he gazed up at the metal men. He was dressed in blue, except for a red stripe running down the outer seam of his pants, and he wore a distinctive Eagle, Globe, and Anchor on his collar. He was standing there when we came. He was still standing there when we left.

I wondered what was going through his mind in that moment. Was he contemplating the nature of heroism? Service? Sacrifice? Was he thinking about the enormous responsibility of continuing in the traditions of the men on that mountain? The weight of history, the pride in being a part of that tradition, the honor of his Corps? I can guess, and I can imagine, but I will never know. Only another Marine would understand, and I think that's the way it ought to be. For me, I'm just glad of that Marine and his brothers in arms, and grateful that they are there, always faithful.

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