When John and I met, we were nineteen years old and embarking on our second year of college. We became friends and bonded over common interests, such as football and music, and his sweet grin and sense of humor always made me smile and laugh big time.
Not long after we met, John made the decision to pursue a career as a pilot in the United States Marine Corps. It was a decision that surprised me, as I saw him as a sweet and goofy guy, not as a disciplined Marine. Thankfully, his vision of himself was not as narrow as mine was at the time.
After graduation, our paths diverged, and we lost contact, as was not uncommon in the days before cellphones and the internet. Through mutual friends, I would receive occasional updates about John, and I was happy to learn that he made his dream of becoming a pilot in the Marine Corps a reality. Whenever his name was brought up, I would always flash back to our college days and picture him as he was then, and I wondered, and worried a bit, how a life of military service had changed him. After he retired, I had the chance to find out for myself.
Because we now reside during a time that has modern technology to communicate with others across the world, our paths crossed once again. I was thrilled to reconnect with him, but I was also nervous that he wasn’t the same guy. This leads me to what I am thankful for today, the 244th birthday of the United States Marine Corps.
As soon as we started catching up and getting reacquainted, I was relieved and grateful to discover that John was, and was not, the same guy I knew all of those years ago. He still was kind, thoughtful, funny, and sweet, not to mention handsome, but he also was more self-assured and focused. He always has been a great person of integrity and character, and the Marine Corps took what already was amazing about him and made it even better.
So, on this tenth day of November, I find myself feeling a deep sense of gratitude to the United States Marine Corps for giving John the opportunity to make his dream come true and for providing him with a career that gave him and his family so many opportunities. I also am grateful that the Marines have been serving and protecting all of us at home and abroad for 244 years, and I wish them another 244 years, at least.
I also am grateful to my favorite Marine for showing me through words and actions how to pursue goals, to serve others, to work hard, and to value the people you love. He bristles when I say this, but he is my hero in so many ways, and I am grateful for him and his service. Semper Fi!
Just one thing each day. . .
Categories: Just One Thing Each Day