(Excuse the blur, but at one point I shrank this scanned image down and it has never been the same. But this is John in 1998. Oorah, Devil Dog.
I have to do this because I married a veteran of the almighty United States Marine Corps.
My hubby is a Jarhead. And as a result, I've learned some things:
Once A Marine, Always a Marine. There is a pride there of which I will not begrudge him. He earned that. He didn't serve in Iraq, but he did hold a newborn Evan as he watched in sheer rage the footage from 9/11. He was still in the reserves then, as my selfish fear at his number being called up motivated me to learn exactly what IRR meant: Inactive Ready Reserves. Ready. Ready. My husband as a trained instrument of war.
From the day John and I first shared a residence, I have had his Corps uniforms hanging in our closet. He protects them as he does our children. They are a part of who he is. The ribbons. The blood stripe of the NCO rank he obtained. The almighty Eagle, Globe, and Anchor he earned the day he earned the right to the title.
In our ten years of marriage, my son and I both have learned the lyrics to The Marine Corps Hymn. "Oorah!" rolls off of our tongues now as easily as it does John's. His status as a veteran gives us membership to military family in a way. I've always thought military service was to be revered. I was raised that way as the daughter of an Army vet, the sister of an Army vet. Zach was named after his great grandfather, who passed shortly before his birth and was a WWII veteran.
While I can go on record to say I don't believe the war in Iraq has anything more to do with our freedoms we enjoy than anything else, I know I am doing so because a long time ago, someone fought for the freedom to say so. Someone like John's grandfather Clifton, like my dad or my brother. Someone like John. These men and women who served in Iraq may not be fighting for our rights to life, liberty, and the almighty pursuit, but that is immaterial to me. Our country deemed it necessary to go to war, and therefore our American brothers and sisters had to go. And because they did, John didn't have to go. God bless the volunteers.
And so nothing sickens me more than the trampling on the grave done by the Westboro Baptist Church idiots. The morons who have nothing better to do than torment the familes of these fine men and women on the day they are to be honored and lain to rest. How horrifying for the young widow, robbed of her future with her young husband, to be handed the folded flag of our nation and look up to see a sign that says "Thank God for Dead Marines." Or Dead Soldiers. Or whatever hate these idiots are spewing.
I can say I was not shocked to hear of the Supreme Court's ruling that their right to protest military funerals is protected as free speech. It is indeed free speech. Just like the mosque near Ground Zero, it may be in completely poor taste to do so, but it is indeed one of the liberties we are granted in this country. And it sucks. It sucks because bastards like these should not enjoy these freedoms like the rest of us. Their protests go against exactly what being a decent human being is all about.
It angers me. It disgusts me. But this is nothing to the rage I see in John each and every time they mention it on the news. It is like someone just took a shit on his Honorable Discharge. And on the graves of his fallen comrades.
But the irony is what gets me.
Oh, the IRONY.
Don't you see? Marines, Soldiers, Airmen, and Sailors have died for these freedoms we enjoy in this country. Among them free speech. And these clowns hold up their signage saying, "Thank God for Dead ____". They go to Supreme Court over a lawsuit for such behavior, and free speech gets them off the $5M hook. They should be saying "Thank God for Dead Marines". Those dead Marines just saved them $5M.