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Sgt Grit American Courage Newsletter - December 14, 2001

"Why should we become frightened? No people who have ever lived on this earth have fought harder, paid a higher price for freedom, or done more to advance the dignity of man than the living Americans -- the Americans living in this land today. There isn't any problem we can't solve if government will give us the facts. Tell us what needs to be done. Then, get out of the way and let us have at it." --Ronald Reagan (1976)

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Dear SGT Grit,
I joined the USMC knowing I would go to Vietnam, I can stand proud and have no shame of my service to this fine nation.  With that said I need to correct a misconception many have about the other ways individuals met their obligations of citizenship and duty.  One of these was service in the reserve components, including the Army National Guard and Air National Guard.  If one goes to Washington and looks at THE WALL they will find many
names of reserve and NG members etched in stone.  Contrary to popular belief there were NG and reserve units called up for service in Vietnam.  Pilots were subject to gingival call up to fill in units.  George W. Bush did in fact fly an aircraft type that flew  combat missions in Vietnam.  He was lucky that his phone did not ring with a call up notice.  The only infantry NG unit to get called up for service was from Indiana, Dan Quales' state.  If we want to pick on politicians,  pick on the ones who never put on the
uniform, never exposed themselves to military service.  And do not insult those who chose to serve in the Reserve and NG.  By the way, were any USMC Reserve units called to active duty? William Scott Shirley
USMC 67-70
Lima 3/9 Vietnam July 68 to Aug 69.

Just a comment about the protesters against the war. I joined the Marines in 1966 and got out in 1972. Vietnam was raging at that time and I chose to join. However some of my friends chose to run to Canada and/or protest. I think the protesters are absolutely wrong, but and this is a big but, What I fought for was the right for them to protest. Freedom is not free but it is worth fighting for. It must cover everybody. We may not agree with what they say, but the Marines through out history have fought the death for the right for them to say it. One thing I used to say and it is true is "Old men make war, but young men have to fight it." We will always have protesters and hopefully we will always have Marines to fight for the right for them to protest. My say is "They are not worth the time it took me to write this, however the freedom is."
Jerome E. Vogel

Recent talk has it that NPR senior editor Loren Jenkins made a statement that he would, if in Afghanistan or Pakistan, report the presence of American commando units regardless of compromising the US combat troops.

This is not the first time a reporter stated a belief in 'higher' ideals than being an American.

In 1987 an 'Ethics in America' (Produced by Fred Friendly) TV panel discussion titled "Under Orders, Under Fire" was taped.  The panel consisted of former soldiers like Brent Scowcroft and William Westmoreland discussing the ethical dilemmas of their work.  The moderator was Charles Ogletree, a professor at Harvard Law School, who moved from expert to expert asking increasingly difficult questions in the law school's famous Socratic style.  The description below is modified from a James Fallows piece titled "Why We Hate the Media."  But I watched the episode on TV and recall vividly the words of Colonel Connell and how I came out of my seat and cheered when I heard them.

In exploring the topic of journalistic ethics, Ogletree turned to the two most famous members of the evening's panel, better known than William Westmoreland himself. These were two star TV journalists: Peter Jennings of World News Tonight and ABC, and Mike Wallace of 60 Minutes and CBS. Ogletree brought them into the same hypothetical war. He asked Jennings to imagine that he worked for a network that had been in contact with the enemy North Kosanese government. After much pleading, the North Kosanese had agreed to let Jennings and his news crew into their country, to film behind units. Would Jennings be willing to go? Of course, Jennings replied. Any reporter would - and in real wars others from his network often had.

But while Jennings and his crew are traveling with a North Kosanese unit, to visit the site of an alleged atrocity by American and South Kosanese troops, they unexpectedly cross the trail of a small group of American and South Kosanese soldiers. With Jennings in their midst, the northern soldiers set up a perfect ambush, which will let them gun down the Americans and Southerners, every one. What does Jennings do?  Ogletree asks. Would he tell his cameramen to "Roll tape!" as the North Kosanese opened fire? What would go through his mind as he watched the North Kosanese prepare to ambush the Americans?

Jennings sat silent for about fifteen seconds after Ogletree asked this question. "Well, I guess I wouldn't," he finally said. "I am going to tell you now what I am feeling, rather than the hypothesis I drew for myself. If I were with a North Kosanese unit that came upon Americans, I think that I personally would do what I could to warn the Americans."

Even if it means losing the story? Ogletree asked.

Even though it would almost certainly mean losing my life, Jennings replied. "But I do not think that I could bring myself to participate in that act. That's purely personal, and other reporters might have a different reaction."

Immediately Mike Wallace spoke up. "I think some other reporters would have a different reaction," he said, obviously referring to himself.  "They would regard it simply as a story they were there to cover."

"I am astonished, really." at Jennings's answer, Wallace said a moment later. He turned toward Jennings and began to lecture him:

"You're a reporter. Granted you're an American," (at least for purposes of the fictional example - Jennings has actually retained Canadian citizenship.) "I'm a little bit at a loss to understand why, because you're an American, you would not have covered that story."

Ogletree pushed Wallace. Didn't Jennings have some higher duty, either patriotic or human, to do something rather than just roll film as soldiers from his own country were being shot? "No," Wallace said flatly and immediately. "You don't have a higher duty. No. No. You're a reporter!"

Jennings backtracked fast.  Wallace was right, he said. "I chickened out." Jennings said that he had gotten so wrapped up in the hypothetical questions that he had lost sight of his journalistic duty to remain detached.

As Jennings said he agreed with Wallace, everyone else in the room seemed to regard the two of them with horror. Retired Air Force general Brent Scowcroft, who had been Gerald Ford's national security advisor and would soon serve in the same job for George Bush, said it was simply wrong to stand and watch as your side was slaughtered. "What's it worth?" he asked Wallace bitterly. "It's worth thirty seconds on the evening news, as opposed to saving a platoon."

Ogletree turned to Wallace. What about that? Shouldn't the reporter have said something?

Wallace gave his most disarming grin, shrugged his shoulders and spread his palms wide in a "Don't ask me!" gesture, and said, "I don't know."  He was mugging to the crowd in such a way that he got a big laugh - the first such moment of the discussion. Wallace paused to enjoy the crowd's reaction. Jennings, however, was all business, and was still concerned about the first answer he had given.

"I wish I had made another decision," Jennings said, as if asking permission to live the last five minutes over again. "I would like to have made his decision" - that is, Wallace's decision to keep on filming.

A few minutes later Ogletree turned to George M. Connell, a Marine colonel in full uniform. jaw muscles flexing in anger, with stress on each word, Connell looked at the TV stars and said,

   "I have utter...contempt.  Two days later they're both walking off my    hilltop, two hundred yards away and they get ambushed.  And they're lying there wounded.  And they're going to expect I'm going to send Marines up there to get them.  They're just journalists.  They're not Americans."

   "Oh, we'll do it," Connell continued, "And that is what makes me so contemptuous of them. Marines will die going to get a couple of journalists."

The last few words dripped with disgust.

Not even Ogletree knew what to say. There was dead silence for several seconds. Newt Gingrich, looking a generation younger and trimmer than when he became Speaker of the House in I995 said: "The military has done a vastly better job of systematically thinking through the ethics of behavior in a violent environment than the journalists have."

That was about the mildest way to put it. Peter Jennings and Mike Wallace are just two individuals, but their reactions spoke volumes about the values of their craft. Jennings was made to feel embarrassed about his natural, decent human impulse. Wallace was completely unembarrassed about feeling no connection to the  soldiers in his country's army or considering their deaths before his eyes as "simply a story."

Like Col. Connell said, "They're not Americans, they're just

Bob Mansfield
Capt, USMCR 64-67

There is sobbing of the strong,
And a pall upon the land;
But the People in their weeping
Bare the iron hand;
Beware the People weeping
(Herman Melville)
Submitted by:
SSGT Bill Case

Hey Sgt,
Just received your American Courage Newsletter #7 and read it cover to cover.  The controversy of comparing the Iwo Jima Flag Raising and the FDNY Flag Raising at Ground Zero after 9/11 has bothered me since the picture was published in the newspapers.

A closer parallel might be between the Flag flown over Ground Zero and the Flag flying over the USS Arizona.  Both locations awoke the "Sleeping Giant."  To me Iwo Jima will always stand alone, especially to those of us in the Brotherhood of the Corps.

Also, with all due respect to Father Denis Edward O'Brien and the sentence in his poem, "Where five good men raised this flag so high..."  There were actually six damn good men that raised that second flag over Iwo Jima.  Doc Bradley was an integral part of that team and I hope he was not thought of any less than the five Marines that shared in the combined effort.

Keep up the good newsletters.  They make great reading.  Please continue to exercise your editorial rights.  Some other well known sites are turning into gutter rags, because a few website masters are too involved with other commercial interests to take sufficient care of Corps concerns.
Semper Fi,
Snuffy Smith, USMC 58-62

Sgt. Grit,
  First, I would like to thank you for your
newsletters and your web site.  I have printed a few
things from the stories on your sites to use as
recruiting tools or simply to try and make some of my
college classmates what it is to be a Marine.
  I am dismayed by the large number of contributors to
your letter that have lost sight of what they fought
for.  As a law student, I am presently enrolled in a
Constitutional Law class where we continuously have
this debate over what free speech is and whether
others should be permitted to exercise it.  The men
and women to whom this site is dedicated, more than
any of my classmates, should understand that Marines
and other service members have fought and died for the
right for ANY person to speak his/her mind.
  I do not agree with the protesters and I am very
disappointed that these folks can't possibly fathom
that some little boy or girl whose mommy or daddy may
be in harm's way could be watching them wondering why
they don't like his/her parent.  I am, however, more
disappointed with those among us veterans who would
simply condemn them instead of realizing that Sam
Adams, Thomas Jefferson and even George Washington
himself were "traitorous protesters" at one time.  I
am quite certain that Samuel Nicholas would have been
hanged or stoned for his participation at Tun's Tavern
in 1775 had he been caught.  I am not suggesting that these protesters have the unity, purpose or even brains that our forefathers had.  I am, however, suggesting that we, as veterans
who did swear at one time to put it all on the line,
did so JUST so these people could have those rights
which we swore to defend.  Disagree with them.  Detest
them.  Picket against them even.  Above all else,
though, understand that you and I gave them this
right.  I would like to add one little disclaimer here.  I
support a person or group's right to protest
peacefully and for a purpose.  I can not, will not
support those who personally attack, either with words
or actions, service members or their families for
doing the job which the service member swore to do.
I, likewise, will not support the rights of those
persons or groups who believe that violence should
accompany their messages.  Other than that, though, I
believe we should support the free exercise of those
right that we fought to defend and preserve.  Heck, at
least these protesters care enough to get off their
couches.  After a kid or two, they will realize the
error of the ways and understand what it is that
veterans have given them.

Semper fi,
David Remington,
Cpl, 2d award (85-91)
2/4 - The Magnificent Bastards

This title we earn---"Marine".  I served from 77-81, yes, a peacetime jarhead, but I was ever-ready to go and do the deed for my country, anyplace, anytime.  I never was a career motivated Marine, but I felt obligated to serve this great nation that has given so much to my family, that I decided to join, and join the best I did.  I still serve my county as a law dog in S.  Fla. (21 years).  Over the last couple of years some of my active service injuries had to be "fixed" at the local V.A. where I met some incredible Vets, and many former Marines.  The generosity and concern I was shown
re-juvinated a lot of patriotic feelings I have always had, but hadn't openly demonstrated over the last decade for whatever reasons.  Well, that's changed now.  Not because of what I received for my physical ailments, but for what my soul received from the many who helped me in so many ways.  Since then, and continuing through 9-1-1, I have found a new sense of purpose in my job as a law enforcement officer, and as a former Marine.  I've make it a priority to help the many homeless Vets in my area, and help Vets that are completing their active duty tours and looking for their civilian purpose.  I'm not writing this for anyone to give me an "atta-boy", but to motivate folks, a former Marine, a Vet, any American that has been yearning for a purpose beyond their norm.  Many more Vets will be in need once the War is over.  Lets all be there for them.  Yeap, this title I earned a while back, well I carry it with a lot pride and respect for all Vets, and those serving today.  I will forever try to be worthy of my title as a "Former Marine".  Forever faithful to my fellow man, to those that served yesterday, today, and tomorrow.  I will forever be faithful----Semper Fi.  Thanks Sgt. Grit.....

Dear Sgt....

Well, first of all, I would like to say.. This is the best newsletter out there, well maybe its because it done for Marines, by Marines, and IM proud to say I AM A MARINE.  I want to say.. Give them hell over there and come home safe.. and PLEASE!!!!!!!  America.. When our brave Men and Women come home, don't turn your back on them.. face them ... and tell them.. your proud to be an American.. and proud to know that when the chips are down.. we
go kick some butt.. but most of all..  don't turn your backs on the Men and Women that come home from this war.. don't spit on them, call them names, and don't dump them out in the middle of a freeway and leave them,  because your ashamed of them... I was dumped off on a freeway outside San Fran. by a driver of a YELLOW CAB.. I had just returned home from a year and half in Vietnam, He asked where I had been, and like any PROUD Marine, I said, "just coming home from Vietnam, Sir"  well I was kicked out on the freeway.. called everything under the sun... and there I stood..  thinking that I had just been dumped on by the U.S. I would have loved to have someone come up to me and say "thank you" Well I'm proud I served my country, and I would do it again..
Well it has taken me Many Many years to get over the way I, and the way other men and women that came home from there were treated.. So Damnit!!!!!  when these brave people come home.. show them you love them.. and they did a damn good job...  don't let them go through life wondering, or regretting doing what American asked them to do.. just as it did me... GOD BLESS AMERICA, AND GOD BLESS THE CORP.
Semper Fi
Cpl Larry Staats
U.S.M.C,  3rd Tanks 3RD Mar Div,  1966-1968

 Today, The U.S.M.C. Toys For Tots Kickoff begins. It starts on the South Side of Chicago with a motorcade of motorcycles, travels northbound on Western Avenue to Foster Ave. and proceeds westbound to  The Holy Of Holies on Chicago's North Side, 2/24's HHC building. Each year, the faithful ride their motorcycles in good weather or the most horrible rain, snow of sleet.  Many of these riders are the so called outlaw bikers but in their hearts is a soft spot for underprivileged kids.  This event has the high and tights of the Corps meeting and greeting what society might fear only from not knowing these people. I have many friends that have ridden this route for the last 20 years or more.  including a friend that just recently passed away. he was an Army Special Forces snake eater in the early days of Vietnam and had reached the rank of Command Sergeant Major. Our Police Department estimates 20,000 riders will participate.  Many are former Marines like myself and even a few Reservists. Semper Fi are not just words in a motto to these men and women. The live the creed and hold Honor Above All Else.  These are The Faithful.
Semper Fi,
Sgt. Bruce Rapa
Chicago Police Department

Sgt. Grit: Semper Fidelis! The nation is bound together more so now than for quite awhile. We should remind our neighbors that to be in America as a loyal citizen we should speak the language, which is English. Secondarily, someone in the family must be willing to fight for the country and the freedom it offers. This is a land of opportunity, and as such people should not be allowed to come here to stay unless they are agreeable to speak the
language and to fight for the country's freedom and liberty.
I here often that G.W. Bush did not serve. That is not true. He was a pilot in the National Guard. His Father was shot down in WWII, maybe that is enough war for one family. Serving is what matters. All cannot be on the varsity, but if you are there you are ready to be called upon. Enough said, keep up the good work and best wishes to you for continued success in business. Regards, Joe Tirrell

Previous newsletter:
But, I do take pride in the photograph of
those battle worn firefighters raising Old Glory.
For me, the two flag raising are forever welded.

Nothing can or will ever compare to the flag raising on Iwo Jima.  They can never be welded together in any way.  You need to pass that along to the rest of your readers.

 Sgt Grit,
Just want everyone know how proud I am of the Marines.
My son is in the marines and I'm very proud of what
he is doing today.  I never dreamed I would have a son
and 21 years later he's serving his country as no
parent would dream of or think about when they brought
their son/daughter in this world.  I have followed a lot of Marine History and have gotten really interested the way they train, well
organized.  And when I've talked to people about my
son serving in the USMC, they've told me that if they
had to fight for their country, they would rather be
with the Marines.  I am very proud!!!
Mom of Cpl Clinton Stephens
God Bless America and our USMC!!!!!
I love you all!!!!

Sgt Grit,
In reference to your comment that our
population is in need of courage, I would
like to comment on that. Agreed that we all need courage to go on and stand up for what we believe in, even fighting for it.  But we have to realize one true concept.  We all have different hearts, minds and souls. Although we believe the average Marine hates a coward since a coward has nothing to offer, we have to come to the realization that it is our job to help the individual overcome their cowardly nature by helping them to stand up and fight for themselves and what they believe not if we abandon those who are in need of a transfusion.  To set the example, we have to show it to those in need of it in more ways than just words. Setting the example by getting the job done with the coward right next to us will be SHOWING the example in more ways than one.
I just wanted you to know what was in my heart and mind in reference to American Courage.  Thanks for your time.
Former U.S. Marine
Semper Fi - (Always Faithful) - Means;
   NEVER giving up on Who or what we believe in.

 "God doesn't call people who are qualified. He calls people who are willing, and then He qualifies them." --Richard Parker

"Real heroes do not seek the applause of others; their reward was found in what they did. They make most of us seem small -- especially that crowd in Washington, D.C." --Chuck

"The average American is always more courageous than the average lawyer, politician or government official." --Wesley Pruden

"We are all Americans. And as Americans, we have a duty to protect the freedoms that make our union the example and the envy of the world." --Charlton Heston

>From the: The Federalist []

Who do I write to get a message across regarding
the military draft. How do we get a grass roots
movement  started to get the draft re-instated, which I
might add must include females, just like Israel.
Each and every able bodied female and male
should automatically go from high school to serve
their country for a minimum of two years.  It just
might give us an edge on the new "hardass"
teeneeboppers who think they are so damn
tough. Let's show them what tough really is. This
country is so filled up with immigrants who think
it is their right, not a privilege to be living on this
soil. It is time they pay their dues to society and
more importantly this country.  We just might get
rid of some of the gang bangers don't you think?
Thank you for listening. My husband is x-military
(but still military loyal) as well as each of my
brothers, uncles and all have had a price extracted
from them to be treated with a lack of respect by
a bunch of adult kids. They want to be treated as
adults, them lets do just that. Thank you for
Mrs. J. Albritton

Today in the  Dallas Morning News I read the following letter to the editor from a proud sister writing about her patriotic brother-The letter was entitled "Now I Understand" and I was so moved by the special nature of the letter that I wanted  to share its message with each of you-"My first memories of my  brother were those of him always playing "army" or "soldier."  My brother always knew and told us that when he grew up he wanted to be in the military and be a "real soldier." We spent most our family vacations visiting Civil War Battlegrounds. I really didn't enjoy these vacations and
I really never really understood! My brother was the ROTC Battalion Commander in High School when even  being a member of ROTC was certainly very " uncool ". He graduated from Texas A & M as a 2nd Lt. and moved steadily upward in rank- Many times putting his Army military career ahead of his responsibilities to his own family.I still didn't understand. Two years ago he retired from the Army Special Forces as a Colonel and took a civilian job in Washington D.C. at twice his military pay-He was renovating rental property and realizing his lifelong dreams a very successful civilian having served his country on active duty for over 20 years. On September 12th 2001 my brother left the security of his profitable, safe civilian career/life and submitted his reenlistment papers to reenter Army Special Forces. I spent Thanksgiving with my brother, now a Colonel again and headed into harms way again for a minimum of one year. Yes,folks,Now I Do Finally Understand!"-Doesn't this letter make you proud to be an American!-R/R

Sgt Grit-
The following is my tale to tell in our corner of the
world:  I served our Nations Finest from 1978 thru 1990 and while I did not have the opportunity to serve under combat, I did see one of my 'children' on TV being interviewed as he and his were on their way from Lejeune to the Middle East. As a New Yorker and a
former Marine, the attacks on the 11 of Sept. hit me up close and personal.  So seeing one of mine, who was a Lance Corporal in 1990 and now a mustanger(2nd LT.), going to carry the fight, gave me a sense of great pride and reassurance that this fight will be won!
Semper Fi
Sgt. Joe Vega
Maker of Marines!!!

Headline: Cops and Marines say goodbye to a hero and a friend SgtMaj CURTIN Story and Photos by SSgt. Robert KnollPATCHOGUE, New York -- With warm rays of light illuminating the blue stained glass, a mass of people mourned. They were there to honor a legend. That legend had impacted thousands of lives and helped so many people. He was cop's cop and a Marine's Marine. And on this crisp November morning, it was time to say goodbye to the friend and father who died doing what he loved - helping people. Sergeant Major Michael Curtin, USMCR (Ret.), also a sergeant in the New York City Police Department, was honored in a memorial service at Our Lady Mt. Carmel church on Long Island Saturday.  "There are a number of people in the New York City Police Department who were heroes far before that day. In looking at Michael's history with the NYPD, it was apparent that he was a hero long before Sept. 11. He was a Marine," Bernard Kerik, police commissioner said."He
was someone that loved his country, loved his department and most importantly, he loved his girls, all four of them," Kerik added.  Curtin was not only one of the first responders to the Sept. 11 terrorist attack.  He was also one of the first to respond to the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center. In addition, he received a great deal of notoriety for actions when he was deployed as a member of the NYPD Emergency Services Unit to the 1995 Oklahoma City Bombing.  During the rescue and recovery efforts in Oklahoma, Curtin was walking past an area that had been checked previously for casualties. Out of the corner of his eye, he caught a glimpse of some blue material with a red strip on it. He knew exactly what it was, the dress blue trouser leg of a Marine. He had discovered the remains of Capt. Randy Guzman, an officer in charge of the recruiting office at the Oklahoma City Federal Building.  Because the dangerous location, Curtin and a few others had to request special permission to endanger themselves to recover Guzman's remains. They were granted a four-hour window and were able to recover the body. The part of the whole recovery that caught the Nation's attention was how Guzman was carried out. A U.S. flag was draped over his body and it was ceremoniously saluted as they took it from the site.  When asked why he risked his own life to recover the remains of another Marine he simply replied, Marines don't leave their own behind.  He was just as passionate about his work with the NYPD. He was often in dangerous situations risking his own life to save others. He recently saved a man who got trapped in a building that collapsed in Harlem. Later the man who was saved said that he would have died if it weren't for Curtin. "I want to tell his family that police are good people - he is a good person.  "There are
thousands of people in New York City that are still alive because of Mike Curtin, because of who he was, because of what he was, and because of what he was all about," Kerik said. "To his country, to his city, to his family, Mike Curtin was a hero and he one of the best people who ever wore the NYPD uniform.  "Curtin's service to the city never went unnoticed. Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani said that Curtin's service to the city made him proud. "When I come to a memorial service like this, it gives me great strength and inspiration ... and it makes me feel very, very proud that we have people that defend America and defend New York and it shows strength and bravery.  "The mayor said that what Curtin and his fellow officers of the NYPD, New York City Fire Department and the Port Authority of New York did inspired an entire nation in its fight against terrorism. "(Americans are) exuding patriotism very honestly in a way that we've never seen before, and the
reason they're doing it is because they understand something that Michael and those who were involved in this rescue effort understood. They understand that we're being attacked because we're Americans.  "Listening to the mayor's words in the front row were "the Curtin girls." They knew what their father did and what he was all about. "You can't take your daddy away from you, it
can't be done. It's not possible. You have something that lots of children don't have; you have the absolute sure knowledge that your dad was a great man, an American patriot, and we thank you very much," Giuliani said.  The front of the church was adorned with tributes to Curtin's service in the Marine Corps and the NYPD. A huge sergeant major chevron made of flowers stood next to an Emergency Services Unit insignia also made of flowers.
Additionally, his Marine Corps dress blues and his ESU uniform were both displayed side-by-side directly in front of the podium. His service to the country and the city was well represented.  Rev. Robert Romano, one of NYPD's chaplains and a good friend of Curtin, took a few moments to outline his life while comparing it to the Marine Corps' recruiting slogan, "The Few, The Proud, The Marines.  "There were few supervisors like Mike Curtin in the police department. He was the type of guy that got involved. He was a hands on kind of guy. He was the kind of guy that wanted to make sure that everything was done the right way, and it wasn't always the Curtin way, but it usually turned out that way," he said.  He was proud. Proud of his wife Helga. He talked about you a lot," Romano told her. "He couldn't play any tricks on you because you were a Marine also." As those in attendance chuckled, Romano explained that Curtin was proud of his girls, the police
department and the ESU, especially Truck 2. "Truck 2 was his life.  "He was a Marine. Sergeant major was in his blood," Romano added. Last year at the NYPD-USMC Association Birthday Celebration at 1 Police Plaza, Curtin was honored with an award of his actions in Oklahoma City. Hearing the story last year impacted Romano in big way. "It brought tears to my eyes (hearing about) when Mike was in Oklahoma City. How he had a quest to find those Marines who were left behind, and like a good Marine he knew that he had to bring them home.  "As heroic and brave as Curtin was, he was also a modest person, Romano said. "He would probably say to all of us today, stop all of this, it's not necessary. This is not me. There was a job to be done and I did it, I did it the best way I could.  "Never forgotten in any of the remarks about Curtin's life were his wife and children. They were held in
the highest regards for their courage and sacrifice. With her strong Long Island accent, she described her amazement about their relationship.  "Twenty-two years ago, if someone would have said that Mike and I would be together, I'd say, 'Your crazy.' After all, I was just a PFC in the Marine Corps and Mike was this drill instructor, who knew?" And later, she said that if someone would have said that anything could keep them apart, she would have said, "That's impossible.  "She described her husband
as the perfect person for her, a rough and tough Marine with a very soft and cuddly side for his girls. "I could stand here for days and tell you about Mike and the things he loved, like watching our girls play soccer and basketball and going to track meets. Or the pride he took working around the house putting on a new roof, after ripping it off, and his pursuit of brewing that perfect batch of Australian Blonde beer that we've never tasted - Mike so loved life and the pleasures it brought him.  "At the conclusion of the remarks, the family and guests filed out of the church to where hundreds of police officers and Marines stood at
attention. The family members, dressed in dark clothing stood closely together giving each other support with Helga and her daughters in front.  Slowly, a flag detail from the Marine Barracks in Washington D.C. unfolded a 5' by 9' flag until it was pulled tightly among the six Marines. Cracking the still air was the sound of 21 rifle shots with two trumpeters playing taps. At the conclusion of taps, the flag bearers carefully folded the flag into a tight, blue triangle for presentation to Helga. The Marine Corps
presented it to the NYPD who presented it to Helga. Concluding the service was a pass and review of the NYPD Emerald Society Pipes and Drums playing the Marines' Hymn before the Emergency Service's Hummer escorted the Curtin family to the reception hall. "What happened on September 11th is something
that will be with me for every day of my life yet we know somehow we'll pass through it. Time goes on. But it reminds us of the sole appreciation that we've always had for our family, our friends our community and our country. He will be missed forever," Helga said.

E-Mail a Hero in Afghanistan
The following link is set up by the Navy to send an e-mail to our troops in Afghanistan. This was formerly Operation Dear Abby.  You can copy and paste the address or click the link.

Sgt Grit,
    Here's a quick note in response to Charlie Daniel's question.  It's an awesome song!!! My family and I heard you sing it on TV and it brought tears to our eyes.  This garbage about not wanting to offend others is just that - garbage.  We do so much in trying to 'not offend' others, that more often than not, we offend a larger number of people.  For instance, we call our children's Christmas break, winter vacation while at the same time advocating putting a Crucifix in a jar of urine and calling it art.  I dare say that the latter 'freedom' is quite a bit more offensive to many more Americans than the calling Christmas break - Christmas break.  We've taken this idea about offending others to an extreme.  Your song is AWESOME.  If you haven't put it on a CD yet, please do, soon.  I would like to play it on the 4th of July, along with Lee Greenwood's song, "Proud to be an American."
Semper Fidelis,
John Collick
1stSgt/USMC (Retired) 1981-2001

Today  I shall open  with these words, Sons & Daughters, Prisoners of War, Widows, Mothers and Fathers, Please hear me speak. Listen to my voice. Close your eyes, and
picture my world.

Great walls of black granite stretch to your left and right, for as far as the eye can see. And on it are the names of those who have gone before us.

TODAY. At the wall a young woman leaves a single long stem red rose, Today is the birthday of the father she never knew.

TODAY  .A young man leaves the picture of a '67' mustang with a similar looking young man leaning against the hood. And standing there, He says these few simple words, "SHE'S A GREAT CAR DAD". Smiling, he looks through the rain back at the freshly restored memory of someone he's only known in the one old faded and curled black and white snap-shot.

            TODAY. A middle-aged woman with a brown paper bag slowly walks past the wall. She doesn't look at the wall or the many names inscribed upon it there. Some twenty feet past us, abruptly she turns and walks up to one panel. Head still down, shoulders slumped, her experienced fingers reach and trace the one name carved there in the cold black granite. You see the heartfelt greeting of two old dear friends, Slowly she moves away. You understand the final goodbye in the yellowed wedding dress she never got to wear, Cradled in 30 yellow roses.  TODAY. Is not her 30th wedding anniversary to her high school sweetheart.

You see, I have been blessed.. I am of the generation of which still have well over 300,000 true-life, living, breathing, heroes. They have been called many things, by many different groups. "They" being: Our Fathers, Mothers, Brothers & Sisters, Aunts and Uncles. We however, Have titled them for what they are. Simply put, We choose to call them "Our Vietnam Vets". They will forever be our Hero's.

I pray our veterans of today do not come home to the same....

So I say to all those of you, to which these words apply. "THANK YOU, AND

a.k.a. "Titch"

Sgt GRIT   as far as CHARLIE Daniels song goes I AGREE it should be sung loud and repeatedly IN AFGHAN over KANDAhar from a psyops plane at nite and in the day repeatedly so those sons of the desert will learn what they opened with when they dealt the cards.  I also must agree that those pathetic sand crabs or rather wannabe warriors learn what the warrior tradition
really means. FURTHER I contend that they are not holy
warriors as they say but unholy and unhallowed
bastards sired by a syphlitic goat out of a diseased
jackal with delusions of self righteousness. FURTHER
WHILE Islam is a noble religion it does not condone
terrorism at anytime and the jihaad they speak of is
the jihaad of the soul--that is the greater JIHAAD

Dear Sgt. Grit,

I want to first say "thank you!" for posting this newsletter, I read it all the way through every time I get it and find myself laughing and crying at the stories, poems, and letters.  I come from a very military family, my Dad and I were both Marines (ooh-rah!), my Grandfather was in Her Majesty the Queens' British Army, my brother is currently in the Air Force in Valdosta Georgia, my uncle retired from the Navy, and his daughter (my cousin) is now married to a Navy man.  So, I am used to being around military stories, lingo, jargon, etc.  But I love reading your newsletter because it makes me realize that the stories we have and the feelings of togetherness and pride our family share is not exclusive to us.  It makes me see that we are actually all one big family with similar stories to share.  I hear tales from people of all ages and races and locations in your newsletter and it makes me proud that I served in the same organization as them.  I get tears in my eyes whenever I hear the Marine Corps Hymn or God Bless America or the National Anthem.  I am so proud that I am part of such a great country filled with such patriotic people.  To those who disagree with our way of life, or of the military's involvement in the current war, I say they are ignorant and unappreciative.  They only have the freedom to express their argument because of the people that fought for that right.  The same people that they are now criticizing.  So I say, let them have their day on the soap box, because there are enough of us that know the truth and enough of us to support our brothers and sisters as they continue to fight for us.  One other thing I would like to say is how happy I am to see all the branches of the service coming together so harmoniously.  During my time in the Corps and since I have been out I get teased a lot by people I know in the other branches of the service, and I have to be honest and say that I have done my share of
teasing also.  But it seems that since the September 11th attacks, we have all come together with a new respect for each other.  I guess it doesn't really matter which branch of the service we were in, the important thing is that we all stand up and fight for this country together.  I would also like to thank you for printing a letter you printed a while ago.  A dad wrote in and asked for people to write to his son who was in boot camp and had been separated from his buddy.  I wrote to him and prayed for him and
was delighted to read his letter saying how he had made it!!  I was so proud of him.  Thank you again for your newsletter.  Semper Fi,
Mrs. Wendy Gutierrez
A.K.A. LCpl Wendy Williams
USMC 1993 -1994

"The independence and liberty you possess are the work of...joint efforts, of common dangers, suffering and successes."
--George Washington

First off , I'll try not to ramble on too long.  I love your site.  It
assures me there are people who feel the way I do.  My husband is a Marine Reservist out of Waterloo IA.  Recently we attended the Ball as we do every year.  But this year I realized it was different, you see we've come to know the other Marines & their wives from family day & e-mail, etc.  As we sat at the table & chatted, I looked around & realized that these people we've come to know are our family.  And if called to duty ( they are artillery) Some of the family may not come home.  I'm sure the other wives feel the same way I do,  I would not change my husband's job for the world, because I stand a little taller, and hold my head a lot higher, just knowing that he's a PROUD MARINE and believes in the effort to protect our freedom & those who don't understand how important it is.
I love my MARINE family, I am proud to be a part of it.  OHRAH
The wife of a SGT.
I'll wave my flag high
and stand by my MARINE


The embers glowed softly, and in their dim light, I gazed round the room and I cherished the sight. My wife was asleep, her head on my chest, my daughter beside me, angelic in rest.
Outside the snow fell, a blanket of white, Transforming the yard to a winter delight. The sparkling li the magic that was Christmas Eve.
My eyelids were heavy, my breathing was deep, Secure and surrounded by love I would sleep In perfect contentment, or so it would seem, So I slumbered, perhaps I started to dream.
The sound wasn't loud, and it wasn't too near, But I opened my eye when it tickled my ear. Perhaps just a cough, I didn't quite know, Then the sure sound of footsteps outside in the snow.
My soul gave a tremble, I struggled to hear, And I crept to the door just to see who was near. Standing out in the cold and the dark of the night, A lone figure stood, his face weary and tight.
A soldier, I puzzled, some twenty years old, Perhaps a Marine, huddled here in the cold. Alone in the dark, he looked up and smiled, Standing watch over me, and my wife and my child.
"What are you doing?" I asked without fear. "Come in this moment, it's freezing out here! Put down your pack, brush the snow from your sleeve, You should be at home on a cold Christmas Eve!"
For barely a moment I saw his eyes shift, Away from the cold and the snow blown in drifts, To the window that danced with a warm fire's light Then he sighed and he said, "Its really all right, I'm out here by choice. I'm here every night"
"Its my duty to stand at the front of the line, That separates you from the darkest of times. No one had to ask or beg or implore me, I'm proud to stand here like my fathers before me."
"My Gramps died at 'Pearl' on a day in December," Then he sighed, "That's a Christmas 'Gram always remembers. My dad stood his watch in the jungles of 'Nam And now it is my turn and so, here I am."
"I've not seen my own son in more than a while, But my wife sends me pictures, he's sure got her smile." Then he bent and he carefully pulled from his bag, The red white and blue... an American flag.
"I can live through the cold and the being alone, Away from my family, my house and my home, I can stand at my post through the rain and the sleet, I can sleep in a foxhole with little to eat,
I can carry the weight of killing another, Or lay down my life with my sisters and brothers, Who stand at the front against any and all, To insure for all time that this flag will not fall."
"So go back inside," he said, "harbor no fright. Your family is waiting and I'll be all right." "But isn't there something I can do, at the least, Give you money," I asked, "or prepare you a feast? It seems all too little for all that you've done, For being away from your wife and your son."
Then his eye welled a tear that held no regret, "Just tell us you love us, and never forget To fight for our rights back at home while we're gone. To stand your own watch, no matter how long."
"For when we come home, either standing or dead, To know you remember we fought and we bled Is payment enough, and with that we will trust That we mattered to you as you mattered to us."