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10/20/2017 1:01:18 AM
9/22/2017 12:11:25 AM
Posted: 8/13/2005 6:05:49 AM EDT
My kid just graduated from Marine Corps boot camp a couple of months ago. He's at 29 Palms right now about to finish training and get his first fleet assignment. I saw him last week and he told me again how much the letters I wrote to him in boot camp meant to him. I can't stop thinking about him and what his future might hold so I thought I'd share one of those letters with you.

Please say an extra prayer for my son and all of the US service men and women putting it on the line to keep us safe.

Dear Brian,

Hope things are going well for you. A little bird called your mom yesterday and gave her an update. She said in your last letter you sounded kinda down because you were sick and that maybe your shoulder was bothering you again.

There isn't much for me to say and even less I can do to help. That's a real painful thing for a parent to have to admit. Someday you will have this feeling too I'm sure. All I can say is you just have to "cowboy up" and keep plugging away. I remember having a tough time every now and then especially in first phase. I was the honor graduate, remember? I was supposed to be the best recruit there. I promise you there were many times I wasn't sure I could finish it. I wanted to quit many many times. It's only natural to want to be somewhere else especially if you are hurting. I used to try and remember the words to songs I liked or that meant something to me to pass the time when I was down or needed inspiration. The words would run thru my head when I was in pain and needed to zone out.

One day, just when I was having a terrible time of it, I found something by accident that helped me make it thru. We had just moved out to the rifle range and I was putting my stuff in my new foot locker. A recruit that was there some time before me had written some words on the inside of the foot locker lid. He wrote:

I've seen fire and I've seen rain
I've seen sunny days that I thought would never end
I've seen lonely times when I could not find a friend
But I always thought I'd see you sometime again

You've got to look down upon me Jesus
You've got to help me make a stand
You've just got to see me through another day
My body's aching and my time is at hand
I just won't make it any other way.

To this day I remember these words from “Fire and Rain” written by James Taylor some time in the late 1960's. (He went to school at UNC by the way) Some nameless Marine recruit wrote those words down and I found them just when I need a lift. Over the last 30 years I've never forgotten that Marine. I've always wondered what became of him. He could have died in Viet Nam, or Lebanon, or Grenada, or Panama or maybe even later in Iraq. He could have become a General or maybe a bum. He could have grown old and fat and helped to raise three great children like I did. But the point is he was there for me when I needed help. Without even knowing it, he helped his brother Marine. I’ve always wanted to meet him and tell him what he did for me. That is exactly what being a Marine is all about. It's a feeling that no one except another Marine can ever understand. You will understand it some day. This is what you are earning now.

Brian I've had many years to think about my time as a Marine. It's hard for a young man to put it all in perspective but now I’m old so I can. I'll tell you what I KNOW.

What you are doing is very hard because it is very special. It can't be given to anyone. It can only be earned. Once you are a Marine you have become a part of a brotherhood of very special men. The world's very freedom exists only because of men like you and other Marines. Once you endure the hardship and become a Marine you will have three of the only things you will ever own, that no one can take away from you. The love of God, the love of your family and the title...US Marine.

Ronald Reagan our Former President once said:

"Some people live an entire lifetime and wonder if they've ever made a difference in the world. US Marines don't have that problem"

Keep sucking it up big guy. Think back to high school when the Red Devils needed a win from you to take the tournament. You weren’t even ranked at the time and he was. You were hurting too but you came thru big time and pinned that kid.(He is ranked number one this year by the way) You stepped up when it was hard and the pressure was on and finished it.

Never quit until you reach your goal. You will be there before you know it. It's going to change your life, just you wait and see.

I love you Brian and I'm very proud of you.

Semper Fi


Link Posted: 8/13/2005 6:13:02 AM EDT
Great song artist, great lyrics, great letter and you have a great son!

Congrats, Dad, and be very proud!


Link Posted: 8/13/2005 6:27:22 AM EDT
i just hope i can write a letter to my son when he goes next year, impressive to say the least.

Link Posted: 8/13/2005 3:24:04 PM EDT
retdet, if it comes from the heart you will write a great letter. Don't worry so much about what you write, just be sure you write and write often. Do what it takes to get to his graduation too. Neither of you will ever forget it.
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