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Saturday, November 10, 2007

Happy 232rd Birthday, United States Marine Corp

Most of these Marines would be in their late 40s or early 50s now, but I took a photo of them in the prime of their young manhood. The occasion was the visit of Queen Elizabeth's visit to San Diego in the early 1980s.

There is a very nice thread about the US Marine Corp here, regards the founding of the USMC and their traditions. I'd like to acknowledge three members of my family who have served in the Marines: Uncles John Shelak (a veteran of Guadalcanal), now deceased, and Rowland Kreglow (one of the frozen Chosin), and my cousin Andrew Sawka (Vietnam era.)

As most of you who have had service members who have fought in battles know: these people tend to be very quiet about their service days, unless talking among themselves, or if a younger family member directly asks. I was in my 20s before I realized that my Godfather, my uncle Rowland, had been a frozen Chosin. I happened to be looking closely at one of his hands and noticed an extra "knuckle" around the base of his thumb. I asked him about it. It was shrapnel he still carried from that engagement. I'd known for years that he'd been a Marine, during the Korean War and served all up and down the Korean Peninsula - but didn't realize he had a Purple Heart from his service there. My uncle said the shrapnel in his hand didn't give him trouble - I expect he's opted to keep it in there out of wordless tribute to doubtless fallen comrades. It was not a question I dared ask. In talking later with my cousin Michael about it, he told me his dad never talked about the service, unless pressed.

On this day, I think the prayer to St. Michael is most appropriate:

Saint Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle,
be our protection against the malice and snares of the devil.
May God rebuke him we humbly pray;
and do thou, O Prince of the Heavenly host,
by the power of God,
thrust into hell Satan and all evil spirits
who wander through the world for the ruin of souls.

Although the custom of saying this prayer after the low Masses seems to have gone away after Vatican II, I am happy to say that when I have had occasion to attend Mass on a military base, this prayer was said.


Anonymous said...

great article & prayer..

Anonymous said...

& keep your beady eyes off those marines! We know all about men in uniforms (well mines a Police officer!)

gemoftheocean said...

Jackie, so help me - one of my cousins had a low draft number during the Vietnam war and he wasn't going to to do the "old man" [his dad, a Navy WWII vet] he decides he wants to pick his service. He picked the Marines. Years later I asked him, "Andy, during the middle of a war and you pick the Marines?" He says "I liked the Marine comic books."

Not a scratch. Two tours. Drunks, dogs and High school boys who pick the Marines because they like the uniform and want to be one up on the "old man."

I have great respect for your police.

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