I needed to tell you this
Dear Sgt Grit Well it was that time again when I said goodbye to my son, of the few, of the proud. Strangely it was harder this time than the last time. Last time I watched a boy go off to war and this time I saw a man climb onto that bus. The reality of it is that the 3/2 lost 14 brave, courageous men at the last deployment. I started a scholarship here in Tampa, Florida for Lance Corporal Eric W. Herzberg, 20 years old killed by a sniper in Al Anbar Province and a friend of my son’s.
He was featured this past Memorial Day weekend at the Memorial in Washington. Jimmy Smits the noted actor gave the introduction, and Dianne Weiss the noted actress read letters that Eric’s mom writes to Eric every Sunday sitting on his grave in hallowed groud at Arlington Cemetery. Coming to know and be close to his dad and his stepmom has brought the reality of war and it consequences even deeper into my heart. I was honored and also sadden that I was requested to attend the memorial service for these 14 at Camp Lejuene in March. I sat in the tent with the families which is unusual at the request of the Herzbergs. I watched fathers and mothers wallow is such grief that I had to excuse myself to the ladies room during the ceremony . Yet, through it all the pride was there…not one was bitter, not one said I wished I had not let my son become a Marine. On my weak days, when I am overcome by dread, I am ashamed of my weakness and I tell myself I am a mother of a Marine…and that somehow jolts me back. Sometimes more slowly than other days. I know they are well trained, but so was Eric when a sniper got to him.
The reason I am writing this to you is that my heart is also heavy for another reason. Last year I adopted the whole platoon. I sent microwaves, blankets, cookies, individual packages for the whole platoon, I got donations, I took a second job, and much of it was out of pocket. I didn’t care. I borrowed against my income tax also and paid it back, but I did, I sent basketballs, dart boards, footballs, the oven, the blankets, much needed blankets. I sent candy cookies, hot chocolate and popcorn…..in all I, by myself made up over 300 packages, boxed them and did it in between my two jobs.
I was on the news because the school that promised to help did not come through. When all was said and done, I had no way to pay for shipping and needed to fill 22 more boxes…thanks to the news coverage an Army Sgt retired, David Morgan picked up the shipping…he jokingly said, I can’t believe I am helping THE MARINES…
This year my donations are so down. I can’t physically take another job and people that promised to help, are not. People don’t ask anymore about the troops, there is a little less of the patriotism that we had two years ago. People are tired of the war and it is getting to be old news and for our troops and my son the war is as new and as fresh as ever before…I urge all of us, to remind everyone we meet that those boys are over there and doing the job, protecting us and those that can’t protect themselves
Take the faded bumper stickers off your car and put fresh ones on, paint your windows, the way you did before…call your local VFW and see what you can do.
If things do not pick up, I might only be able to do a squad instead of the platoon. I am praying that this won’t happen. I have spoken to other mothers and they feel the same way. There is just a little less oorah in our voices and a little more complacency among the American people. God help us all if we neglect, forget, don’t appreciate, don’t thank, don’t help and don’t care about the greatest, most elite, most courageous, most honorable, most bravest, most patriotic group of men, called Marines! My son is my hero! 3/2 Marines are my heroes. I have on my car, some heroes wear capes, mine wears kevlar!
God Bless our Marines and all those that serve their country.
PMM of LCpl Justin Carman
3/2 Marines, Kilo Company
Deployed Al Anbar Province