Sgt. Grit, I have two stories to share with you today:
This past weekend I was headed to the Marine Corps Ball, alone. My three young boys and I had a 4 hour trip to make to get there. Part way through, we stopped to get some supper. We were standing in line, and I was trying to keep my boys IN LINE, when a young man ahead of me commented that I really had my hands full. Feeling a little agravated, I replied that I certainly did, especially since their dad is in Iraq. He immediately focused his attention on me, and started asking all about my husband. I was a little bemused, until he pulled off his jacket to show me the Marine Corps shirt he was wearing. I chatted with him and his girlfriend for a few minutes, then they went to pay for their food. When I finally made it to the head of the line, that former Marine was still standing there. Sgt. Grit, I'm not much of a crier, but I certainly choked up when he insisted on paying for all of our meals that night. I thanked him from the bottom of my heart…his reply? "It's the least I can do. I never went over, and here there are guys leaving their wives and kids. You just tell your husband thank you." I duly passed on those thanks, and the story that proves your brotherhood.
The next day, I attended the ball with another wife whose husband is deployed. That evening was hard in a way, to be surrounded by so many Marines when our own are so far away. But it was also a comfort, to know that we aren't alone, that even though we don't wear the Eagle, Globe and Anchor, we are welcomed into the family. I watched the Commandant's message and was greatful that my husband was not fighting in France nearly a hundred years ago, that he was not fighting in the Pacific alongside his grandfather, that he was not surrounded and shivering in North Korea, that he was not being stalked by death in the jungles of Vietnam, or fighting house to house in Fallujah. I am greatful to ALL of you that have gone before, and have given so much. I know that your sacrifices have made this life I live possible. On this years Birthday, I will be thinking of my husband, but I will also remember all Marines. Thank you so much, and Happy Birthday!
Proud Wife of LCpl Steve Bare, currently deployed to Iraq
P.S. The picture shows from left to right Mrs. Gates, LCpl Tinnen and myself