Nearly unreadable now, paper wrinkled
as her hands, veins of ink blurred by tears.
But she had the words imprinted in her
mind to recall when memories surged.
She need not know that a fellow soldier
likely persuaded him, loaned him paper
to write an apology of sorts—I wish
I’d not enlisted,
yet she perceived his special gift,
a declaration of affection, the only way
he could voice it, I miss you all,
tell the children hello.
He mentioned shrapnel in his shoulder,
minor wound he claimed. She clutched
the letter to her heart, transmitted warmth
of her body, like a bird hovering her eggs,
as though, like a Holy Eucharist,
its ink might turn to blood, transform
the paper to pulsing tissue,
grow lungs and start to breathe,
become a living presence nurtured,
resting safe against her breast.
Image: A Letter from Pvt. Charles H. Austin, Civil War soldier
The Marine Corps’ purpose as stated on its webpage is to, “Defend the people of the United States at home and abroad. To do that, we make Marines who win our Nation’s battles and return as quality citizens.” To the casual reader, the first half of the purpose, which is to defend the United States, is stated in simple terms and easily understood. However, it is the latter half of the purpose that bears some investigating and begs the question, “What does make a better citizen mean?” To answer this question, I want to take you on a journey through the process of becoming a Marine, the transformation that occurs and the life-changing impact of being immersed into a sea of diversity creates.
Citizens from every walk of life you can imagine arrive by bus to one of three locations. Young men and women who have signed an enlistment contract arrive at Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island, South Carolina or Marine Corps Recruit Depot, San Diego. Officer candidates receive their initial training at the Officer Candidate School located in Quantico, Virginia. For the purposes of this journey, we will focus on the experience of the recruits who matriculate through one of the training Depots.
Continue reading Experiencing Diversity Through the Marine Corps Training Process – Reginald Hairston
As America pauses to reflect on Memorial Day, the retail and e-commerce industries are once again too busy reflecting on how to lure consumers into holiday shopping sprees.
Yet shouldn’t retailers be more mindful of the countless sacrifices of the U.S. Armed Forces and the many lives lost over the decades in service to our nation?
The retail sector continues to send the wrong message by using revered military holidays simply to boost sales and profits. The true message of Memorial Day is about showing remembrance and gratitude, not greed and profit-mongering.
Continue reading Retailers Dishonor Military on Memorial Day – By David B. Grinberg