Polishing The Marine Corps Emblem
By: Tad Lincoln Palmer
I thought I would relay my memory of respect from the general public. I have visited D.C. at least four times since I was 15 years old. The last trip I took I was still employed by the Corps, and it was with my wife at the time. She had never seen D.C., so I wanted to take a trip and show her the sights…one of those sights being the Vietnam Memorial. I was not born until 1971, but I have the utmost respect for everyone associated with that war regardless of the branch. And its a known fact that when a Marine is visiting the Wall he/she must pack along some Brasso to polish the Marine Corps brass at the base of the U.S. Flag.
So on the day we went to the Wall I dressed myself up in my Dress Blues (final uniform inspection by my ex-wife to ensure all was in order) and we were on our way. It was a very quiet and solemn visit. She didn’t even say a thing the whole time…it was as if she automatically understood the importance of the Wall. Upon reaching the Flag I immediately kneeled down and began to polish the Brass Marine Corps emblem. I must have spent a good 15 minutes polishing away, all the while people passing by (many strange looks….its a Marine thing, they wouldn’t understand), and some even taking pictures. A few older Devil Dogs stopped and thanked me.
But what stands out in my memory of the event was a Park Ranger that stopped and said, “Its amazing…”. I said, “what’s that?”. He replied, “I just don’t get it. Every day there is at least one of you in your Blues stopping and polishing your emblem. I don’t think I have worked a single day when the USMC emblem didn’t shine. I have not even seen any of the others do what you guys do!”
To which I replied, “Its a long and proud tradition steeped in pride, honor and commitment. Its a Marine thing…you wouldn’t understand!” He thanked me for my service and wished me luck on my future service. Its nice to know that I am not the only young Devil Dog out there that still finds time to show his appreciation for those who have gone before us. To bad we can’t get our government to do the same!
Tad Lincoln Palmer
FMF PAC7th ESB1st Bulk Fuel Co.Camp Pendleton