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Eric Returns To Camp Pendleton

Eric Returns To Camp Pendleton
J. C. R. Forehand 2002

My first grandson, Eric B. Forehand, returned to Camp Pendleton
for additional training after his 10 day boot camp leave.

It had been nine months since the terrorist attack.
Eric was on his boot camp leave but now he was going back.
He had spent some time with his Mother, he had hardly been here.
But he packed up his sea bag and kept out the uniform that he would wear.
He had his Marine dress greens cleaned and ready to don.
His garrison cap fit exactly right when he put it on.
Two fingers were under the brim but you could still see the gaze
That only smiled rarely since his boot camp days.
The Kelly green uniform had been pressed so spick
That you could shave on the crease with nary a nick.
Even without the uniform you knew this was a Marine
For he marched instead of walking and was serious and keen.
But in his class A dress there wasn’t any doubt
Here was a Marine and he was going out.
Now Oceanside and San Diego see Marines every day
They are inured to seeing men march that special way
But Houston seldom sees Marines in green uniform
In South-east Texas this was surely not the norm.
So when Eric marched into Hobby Airport that fine day
The traveling crowd did more than just give way.
It was like Moses crossing the Red Sea as the crowds split asunder
And the waiting room grew quieter like after a clap of thunder.
After a period of time like in a movie scene
A voice spoke up and said: “Look, a Marine!”
The ticket agents rushed to him and put him first in line.
The people waiting nodded like for them that was just fine.
He didn’t seem so big and strong to raise up such a scene
But he stood straight and proud, because he was a Marine.
They checked his bags and gave him a boarding card to keep
They turned off the security machine because the Marine emblem would make it beep.
“I’ll feel safer if he is on our flight.” You could hear some people say
While he marched the aisle in cadence to his loading gateway.
Well Eric has gone now and he has called to say
That he made it to Camp Pendleton and everything is OK.
But here in El Lago we miss him every day
And a voice inside keeps saying, “Our Marine has gone away!”

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