On September 11th, 2001, I was a Primary Marksmanship Instructor aboard Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, SC. I was in my car heading out to assist with a series of recruits running a day infiltration course. The radio announced a second aircraft had just crashed into the south tower. With the news of 2 WTC also taking a hit, it was clear that our nation was under deliberate attack. I had no idea who my enemy was at that moment. Still, it was clearly a capable one and even more clear that their actions and our response to those actions would alter the trajectory of my life and the lives of my best friends and fellow Marines forever.
My brothers and a couple of Drill Instructors were standing together as I walked up. Before I could get all the words out, Staff Sergeant Bodet, already a legend in the Corps and would become even more legendary as time and war would soon tell, flipped tables and threw things as he violently described what he was going to do to that Bin Laden [insert expletive]. Bodet knew. He was studied and well-read on an enemy that I would spend the next twelve years studying, fighting and training Marines and other forces to fight. Those years included burying too many of our brothers and sisters who unquestionably gave everything that a Marine can give in support of fellow Marines, our mission, our Corps and our honor.
The loss of the fallen forever diminishes our country, our Corps and our society. Still, if we look closely and take careful notice, it becomes clear that even though our nation’s leadership, legislatures, foreign policy and defense strategy often fail, our nation’s warriors do not. They will lay down their lives, forego their families, future, limbs, physical comfort, and an easy life to ensure mission success.
Most people don’t understand this and that may be part of why our country is where it is today. We are losing more warriors while forging less of them because, as a society, we have forgotten their value. Not only are they valuable when fighting our nation’s battles, but they are even more so as fathers and mothers, church members, teachers, coaches, politicians and much more.
Courage – Selflessness – Brotherly love – Honor – Loyalty – Mercy – Kindness – Love
These are the virtues of a warrior. And while we may be diminished by the loss of our brothers and sisters – sons and daughters, if willing, we shall be forever enhanced by their sacrifice and example of living a life in service to others through their tireless pursuit of a mission greater than self.
Owner of The Tango Yankee Project