Wednesday, November 10, 2010

235 Years Young

Boot camp photos from 1988.

Happy birthday to the United States Marine Corps!  Today marks the 235th birthday, and it's celebrated with cake, formal events and probably some fist fights worldwide by active and former marines. 

Born in 1775 at Tun Tavern, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the elite branch of young men trained as killers like these can be a spearhead of battlefield missions or a headache to civilians in their path during peacetime. 

I’ve actually met some of the best and worst people of my life while serving.  There are many devoted, real-life heroes who put themselves in danger to protect others, and there are a number of  trouble makers as well.  So today the good and the not-so-good guys are drinking an extra beer and reflecting, while comrades in Afghanistan are still dodging sniper fire and shrapnel. 

A few famous people who once wore the uniform were: Drew Carey, actor; Senator John Glenn,  Gene Hackman, actor; Bob Keeshan (Captain Kangaroo); Harvey Keitel, actor; Robert Ludlum, author; Steve McQueen, actor;  Lee Harvey Oswald, famous one shot marksman…, Bum Phillips, NFL coach;  Pat Robertson, evangelist – really?; Shaggy, musician;  Arthur Sulzberger, publisher of the N.Y. Times;  Lee Trevino, PGA golfer; and Ted Williams, baseball hall of famer.

Blog author in 1988 at Parris Island.

Go ahead and raise a glass to honor those who have served as 'Leathernecks,' 'Devil Dogs' or 'Jar Heads.'  Western Europeans over here are generally a peaceful lot, but do seem to have respect for the USMC when the subject comes up.  Then there are surely some  in the world who don't celebrate the occasion.  

I  recall a conversation in a Paris pub with a wiry, English-born member of the French Foreign Legion.  He said that U.S. Marines were cry babies and that he had seen them throw down their rifles and head back to camp when the situation was tough.  He was soon after repeatedly cautioned by pub staff for pushing women around.  I wonder what a marine had done to this guy to make him feel the need to bark out his desired dominance? I was surprised that he didn't start urinating on the bar stools.  I'll let the reader judge credibility from someone like that. 

Oh by the way, I tried to contact Harvey Keitel and Shaggy by telephone to get comment for this blog entry. I would like to know if they still celebrate the occasion.  I’ll be sure to post an update if they return my calls.  Ooh Rah!

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