Semper Fi to my brother and sister United States Marines!
I served from July 1986 – July 1990 and my oldest son served from October 2011 – October 2015. We both went through MCRDSD; at some point I will share some stories! I have received the Sgt. Grit newsletter for several years now but this is the first time I have submitted a letter.I have always meant to write but life has a funny way of keeping me busy and my time is limited. However, in this situation something happened to me and I had to share this very moving story with my fellow Marines. Now I normally have a very low tolerance for people in general! Life has taught me that most people are rude, inconsiderate, selfish and/or self-centered. For example, just look at all of the poser stories that have been submitted over the years in this newsletter! However once in a great while someone comes along and proves my theory wrong and reminds me that there are still decent human beings among us though they are few and far between. So let me tell you a story…
I am extremely proud of my USMC service and the fact my oldest son is also a Marine just increases that pride. I decided to put a Rock & Rose garden in my front yard in commemoration to the Corps. I purchased 10 rose bushes, 5 red Lincolns and 5 gold roses to represent the Marine Corps colors of scarlet and gold. I also decided to put in a flag pole so I can proudly fly the U.S. and USMC flags. Last April my wife and I stopped by the local Home Depot. We were looking for some additional plants to spruce up the outside of the house and while we were there we found a 20′ flag pole with a nice US flag included in the kit, but I was a little hesitant on making the purchase as the price was $130 and I know I could probably find one cheaper. (Sorry Sgt. Grit, I went through a competitor but in life things happen for a reason!) However, I wanted to get this project completed so we decided to purchase the flag pole kit. As we got to the counter to pay I asked the cashier if they offer the veterans discount. I had my “Once a Marine Always a Marine” baseball cap on, but I still expect to hear that I will need a picture ID. Before I can respond or say anything the gentleman directly behind us says, “Hold on, I got that!” At first I wasn’t sure I heard him correctly but I still said, “no, that’s not necessary.” He said, “Yes, I want to buy that for you.” Again I declined and told him I appreciated the offer but he didn’t need to do that. Again he insisted and said, “Are you kidding? I have the honor of buying a U.S. flag for a Marine?!” At this point I feel a daze start to come over me as this has completely caught me off guard! He again said he wanted to do this for me and then he stuck out his hand and thanked me for my service. I am numb and I have chills running all up and down my arms and I am almost to the point of tears! (Senior Drill Instructor Staff Sgt. Gather would have PT’d me until he was tired if he’d seen me lose my bearing like that!) My wife is in tears and the cashier is standing there with wide eyes and her jaw on the counter and all she can whisper is, “Holy cow!” I thanked him and shook his hand and told him my name; he gave me his and said he was happy to do this for me.
I’m convinced I looked like a blubbering idiot to anyone who witnessed the incident and had no idea what was going on! I even felt that I looked like a fool as I shook his hand a couple more times and continued to thank him! Honestly, other than being able to thank the gentleman I was totally speechless and I didn’t know what else to say! I wished there had been a way I could have told him how much his gesture meant to me as nothing like this has ever happened in my life! I’ve had beers bought for me to thank me for my service and my wife and I have had breakfast bought for us, but this was a $130 flag pole kit and things like this just don’t happen every day! It was just so surreal. I am still amazed it happened, but what an awesome experience! The Pictures don’t do it justice; I will send more when the roses bloom…
Grosshans, Michael D
Cpl. Of Marines
“Forged on the anvil of discipline”