Posted by GMC, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on Nov 10, 2008 at 12:53 pm
Once, when I was coming home to San Diego, where I used to live, I stopped in the men's room right after I got off the plane. Don't worry, this story has a point.
Anyway, also in the bathroom were a few really nervous kids just about to head over to the USO, and then on to MCRD San Diego (boot camp). One of them was talking about how he was pretty scared, and another one was telling him to try and have a positive outlook. They were just boys, and this was a couple months before 9/11.
These young men and women sacrifice and endure so much to call themselves Marines - and that's on a good day. On a bad day they might sacrifice everything. I just want to say thanks! When I'm having a bad day, I sometimes think about these guys and realize just how good I've got it, and the enormous price that's been paid so we can live in relative security.
Posted by Andrew L. Freedman, a resident of the College Terrace neighborhood, on Nov 10, 2008 at 3:08 pm
Thank you TJ for remembering the birth date of the Marine Corps and reminding folks here in this Town Forum.
I'm a Marine from 1974-76. Back then, there wasn't the same kind of admiration for servicemen and servicewomen as there is now. And I don't think my service was particularly remarkable, but I like to feel that I'm making up for that as an employee (and Marine) working for here for the VA in Palo Alto.
So . . . to other Marines: Happy Birthday and Semper Fi!
Posted by Samuel, a resident of Stanford, on Nov 10, 2008 at 3:27 pm
Major Doug Zembiec, the Lion of Fallujah, wrote this letter to the children of one of his Marine brothers who was killed in action, Major Ray J. Mendoza. It tells you everything you need to know about the heart of a Marine.
Dear Kiana and Alek,
Ray and I had a conversation late May in 2004 while we were deployed to Iraq. He spoke of why he fought. He fought to give the people of Iraq a chance. He fought to crush those who would terrorize and enslave others. He fought to protect his fellow Marines.
The last thing he told me that day was, "I don't want any of these people (terrorists) telling my kids how to act, or how to dress. I don't want to worry about the safety of my children." Kiana and Alek, your father fought for many things, but always remember, he fought for you.
As you fight this battle we call life, you will find your challenges greater, your adversity larger, your enemies more numerous. The beautiful thing is, you will grow stronger, smarter, faster, and you will overcome the obstacles in your way.
No one could've better prepared you than your father. In the month and a half your family stayed with me in Laguna Niguel, Calif., while waiting for base housing to open up, I saw how, with the help of your incredible mother, he instilled in you the essentials to life:
* Live with integrity, for without integrity we deceive ourselves, we live in a house of cards.
* Fight for what you believe, for without valor, we lose our freedom.
* Be willing to sacrifice, for anything worthy in life requires sacrifice.
* Be disciplined, for it is discipline that builds the foundation of your success.
You will encounter misguided people in your life who may question America's attempt to help the people of Iraq and the Middle East. These pathetic windbags, who have nothing so sacred in their lives that they would be willing to fight for it, will argue and debate endlessly on what we should've done.
While they criticize, they forget the truth, or conveniently overlook the fact that it takes men and women of action, willing to make a sacrifice, to free the enslaved, to advance the cause of freedom.
Our great nation was built on the shoulders of men like your father. While the nay-sayers and cowards hid in the shadows sniveling that nothing was worth dying for, men like your dad carved our liberty away from the English, freed the slaves and kept the Union together, saved Europe from the Germans twice; rescued the Pacific away from the Japanese, defeated communism, and right now, fight terrorism and plant the seeds of democracy in the Middle East.
Your father was a warrior, but being a warrior is not always about fighting. He was patient with those he led, and he understood people make mistakes. He cared about the men he led as if they were his own family. To him, they were. His work ethic was tremendous. But he made time for his family, to enjoy life. He was balanced, at equilibrium. He was an inspiration. He was my friend.
In your future, when you are pushed against a wall, in a tight spot, outnumbered and seemingly overwhelmed, it may be tempting to give up, or even use the absence of your father as a crutch, as an excuse for failure.
Don't. Your father's passing, while tragic, serves as an endless source of your empowerment. Your father would not want you to wallow in self-pity. I know you will honor him by living your life in the positive example he set. Respect and remember him. Drive on with your lives. Serve something greater than yourself. Enjoy all the good things that life has to offer. That is what he would want.
Kiana! I have never met a more capable young lady in my life. You are the most well-read, articulate, disciplined young person I know. Often I tell people of the arm-bar you demonstrated on me in your parents' garage. When you become a worldwide Judo champion, I will say with great pride, "that woman nearly torqued my shoulder out when she was 11 years old!"
If my daughter grows up with a quarter of the strength of your principles, determination and intelligence, she will be an incredible human being. Like your mother, you are a beautiful woman, a fact of which you should be proud.
Alek! You are blessed with your father's strength of character and his unbreakable will and his broad shoulders. Your mother gave you her determination and unwavering mental toughness.
Your mother told me the story of you hanging up the sign, "Be a leader, not a follower." My eyes well up every time that I think of you doing that. My eyes fill not with tears of sadness, but of pride, to know you grasped the mindset your father passed on to you. This mindset will allow you to be a leader and protector like your father, and one day, to raise an upright, solid-as-a-rock family of your own.
When I look in your eyes, I see your father. Courageous, determined and resolute, your father embodied all that is virtuous in a warrior. Even now, you strive to embody his same character. Remember, there will never be any pressure for you to be exactly like your father. Be your own man, but build your character in his image.
Many people may be concerned about your future because of the early passing of your father. I don't worry at all. Your dad gave you all you ever need to become a great woman and a great man. I know your father would have told you to be your own hero/heroine. Don't wait for someone to rise up and lead you to victory, to your goals. If you do, you might wait for a very long time.
Ray died as a warrior, sword in hand, in service of his country, his comrades and you, his loved ones. His spirit and example give us all hope, reaffirms our faith. Your father reminds us there are men willing to fight for people that they don't even know so that all may live in peace.
I joined the Corps to serve beside men like your father. There is no other Marine I'd rather have protecting my flank in combat than your dad. Even now, as I write this letter in Iraq, I will honor him on the field of battle by slaying as many of our enemies as possible, and fight until our mission is accomplished.
You will always be in our lives. Please stay in touch. We will always be in your corner for assistance, advice or just conversation. Pam and I plan to retire in Idaho and would love for you to visit us so we can take you white-water rafting and mountain climbing.
Posted by Joan, a resident of the Professorville neighborhood, on Nov 10, 2008 at 7:40 pm
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was God. In the Beginning was God - and all else was darkness, and void, and without form. So God created the heavens and the earth. He created the sun, and the moon, and the stars, so that light might pierce the darkness. And the earth God divided between the land and the sea, and these He filled with many assorted creatures. And the dark, salty, slimy creatures that inhabited the murky depths of the oceans, God called sailors, and He dressed them accordingly.
And the flighty creatures of the air He called airmen. And these He clothed in uniforms which were ruffled and fowl.
And the lower creatures of the land, God called soldiers. And with a twinkle in His eye, and a sense of humor that only He could have, God gave them trousers too short, and covers too large, and pockets to warm their hands. And to adorn their uniforms, God gave them badges. And He gave them cords. And He gave them ribbons… and patches… and stars… and bells. He gave them emblems… and crests… and all sorts of shiny things that glittered… and devices that dangled. When you’re God, you tend to get carried away in a big way.
And on the 7th day, as you know, God rested. And on the 8th day at 0530, God looked down upon the earth and was not happy.
GOD WAS NOT HAPPY!
So He thought about His labors, and in His infinite wisdom, God created a divine creature and this He called a Marine. And these Marines whom God created in His own image, were to be of the air, the land, and the sea. And these He gave many wonderful uniforms.
He gave them practical, fighting uniforms, so that they could wage war against the forces of Satan and evil.
He gave them service uniforms for their daily work and training, that they might be sharp and ready.
And He gave them evening and dress uniforms. Sharp, stylish, handsome things, so they might score with the ladies on Saturday night, and impress the hell outta everybody!
And at the end of the 8th day, God looked down upon the earth, and saw that it was good. But was God happy? No!
GOD WAS STILL NOT HAPPY!
Because in the course of His labors, He had forgotten one thing… He did not have a Marine uniform! But He thought about it, and thought about it, and finally satisfied Himself in knowing that, well, not everybody can be a Marine…
Posted by Tyler Hanley, online editor of Palo Alto Online, on Nov 11, 2008 at 10:27 pm Tyler Hanley is a member (registered user) of Palo Alto Online
Unfortunately, the original poster of this topic has abused the system and has chosen to post repeatedly under different names to make it appear that others are posting. "Samuel," "Jack," "Joan," "tj," "joe," and "shelley" are all the same person based on our IP tracking. We will be deleting all future posts of this person until he/she consistently uses the same posting name. We apologize to Town Square users for the need to do this, but his/her behavior is deceptive and undermines the goals of intelligent and honest dialogue.
Posted by Concerned, a resident of another community, on Nov 13, 2008 at 9:27 am
Mr. Hanley, in our household there is one computer for everyone. We have a household of four adults and two minors (yes it's pretty busy here). Not only do we all share the same internet sevice but we somtimes have friends who use it as well.
Several of us follow the news and post comments on this board and others. How in the world do you know who is who? Furthermore, because I like privacy I sign my comments anonymously but for variety might call myself something like "Bored to Tears" or whatever depending on the topic. Is this a violation of your rules?
This is a genuine question and I really would appreciate an answer.
Posted by Tyler Hanley, online editor of Palo Alto Online, on Nov 13, 2008 at 12:01 pm Tyler Hanley is a member (registered user) of Palo Alto Online
For those who choose not to register and want to remain anonymous to us, however, we employ IP tracking to monitor the forum and address the type of abuse that this topic experienced....one poster having a conversation with himself/herself.
Our goal is to make Town Square a place where people can engage in a meaningful and honest conversation. When one person deceives the community by posting under many different names on the same topic, it's dishonest and undermines the purpose of the forum.
Posted by Tyler Hanley, online editor of Palo Alto Online, on Nov 13, 2008 at 4:35 pm Tyler Hanley is a member (registered user) of Palo Alto Online
Your Veteran's Day post was taken down because after posting it you then responded to yourself with three successive comments in a row, using different names (similar to your posting behavior on this thread, where you have used six different names.) We will routinely remove such postings. Simply stick to one name and don't respond to yourself and everything will be fine.