Sunday, November 10, 2013

Marine Corps Birthday Sparks

      November 10, 1775 marks the founding of the United States Marine Corps in as might be expected in a tavern, Tun Tavern in Philadelphia. One of this nation's first oxymorons must have been that of all people a Quaker, a religion known for among nonmilitaristic ideals such as the refusal to participate in war and its adherence to teetotalism, Samuel Nicholas, an innkeeper, was instructed to raise two battalions of Marines in Philadelphia. The tavern’s manager, Robert Mullan, was the "chief Marine Recruiter." Prospective volunteers flocked to the place, most likely enticed by cold beer and the opportunity to join the new corps.
       Since that founding the Marines have become a warrior legend, the new Spartans and symbols of bravery usually unmatched in the field of human conflict. Of 3477 Medals of Honor that have been awarded, Marines have been awarded 297.  On this day the Marines will celebrate their birthday with a cake, cut by a sword signifying the warrior class with the first piece to the guest of honor, the second piece to the oldest marine who passes it to the youngest signifying the continuation of the training, skills and tradition of the Corps.
        In October of this year we witnessed yet another senseless shooting at the Sparks Middle School in Nevada. Two people were killed and two students were not fatally wounded. The adult who died was a teacher of Math and I won't use the term former or ex Marine as the essence of being a Marine is lost only on the day you pass from this world. A veteran of two tours in Afghanistan Michael Landsberry a 45 old math teacher at the school died trying to protect his students
         This poet does not know what was inscribed on his tombstone, but his surviving wife said it best: "To hear he was trying to protect those kids doesn’t surprise me at all,” she told the newspaper. “He could have ducked and hid, but he didn’t. That’s not who he is.” Thank God for men like Michael Landsberry and the U.S. Marine Corps.  

                 Marine Birthday Candles May Spark But Are Not Blown Out

November 10th is the birthday of the U.S, Marines
Well known as an elite combat fighting machine
We all know about Belleau Wood, Iwo, Heartbreak Ridge, Beirut,  Khe Sanh
Miles of white crosses and stars on too many flag dotted lawns
Semper Fi is not just a slogan or spin but a interwoven indispensable creed
Brave men and women in uniform that for us went to die and to bleed
Who among us knows of the minor battle of Sparks?
Not much of a battle that any history of the Corps would mark

Sparks is not what an army would seek seize and then hold
No tactical or strategic value for Marine lives to be sold
Just a Middle School full of young minds
On the path of learning, leaving childhood behind
Only a few days to go before costumes and treats of Halloween
When a young gunman of 12 with a handgun appeared on the scene
Michael Landsberry, a former Marine with two Afghan tours
Without hesitation, Semper Fi for his students’ safety to insure

Marines even those no longer in uniform and without a rifle
Do not hide, or cower or shake and fear they will stifle
Semper Fi and with his body he gave all that he had to give
He died as a human shield so his students could live

A hero to those children, a hero to us all, a credit to the Corps
A Marine will never run, even if knocked down will come back for more
Semper Fi, you may retire from the Corp but the Corp stays within you deep  inside
Honor, sacrifice, duty, valor, bravery and a never ending sense of unmatched pride!
The Hymn is right and when we mere mortal arrive at Heaven's scenes
We will find its streets patrolled by United States Marines 

© November 11, 2013 Michael P. Ridley aka the Alaskanpoet

No comments:

Post a Comment