Today is the Marine Corps' 240th birthday!
I woke up genuinely excited for today, almost as much as if it were my actual date of birth.
I guess part of being a Marine is identifying so strongly with the birth date of the Marine Corps.
Nick and I will be attending the Messina Hof Winery's Marine Corps Ball tonight to celebrate.
I won't say much today, but I wanted to leave y'all with something Nick wrote on his Facebook last night.
It really struck a chord with me, and by the end of it I was crying big ugly crocodile tears.
Here's what he wrote, and I'll end with my thoughts...
"Just a few more hours until our beloved Corps turns 240. I normally leave it to my wife to post something life altering or prophetic but I will make a statement this year. 11 years ago I participated in a battle that was compared to one of the most intense house to house fighting that ever occurred in Marine history, Hue City during the Vietnam war and fought house to house and street to street In some of the most intense combat our brothers had seen to date. As an artillery man I always thought I would take my cannon and a crew into combat and lay waste to targets I would probably never physically see, (As we did in Afghanistan) but this time was different. I was no longer a section chief. I was a squad leader. I had 4 trucks, 13 Marines, 6 crew served weapons and more ammo then I knew what to do with. Being a participant in Operation Phantom fury or The Dawn will live on through me for the rest of my life. Long story short, over 11 years, November marks a very difficult time in my life. I lost a friend that I rarely talk about, Brian Wilson in Iraq to a vehicle accident, my best friend Vincent Bell to an IED in Afghanistan, I lost my mother to stress and poor health, Christopher Nelson in a case of mistaken identity. To tell you the truth it is hard to embrace the good that this month holds when there is so much to remorse. Thanksgiving, Veterans Day, and the marine corps birthday are the positives but I know what the pain of remembering brings to mind. Vincent bell was the epitome of patriotism, Chris Nelson was a contradiction to the rules of broken, my mother was a light to all, and Brian Wilson gave his life for his country. The pain And emptiness I feel is replaced with pride, respect and patriotism. I am thankful for the Marines I was able to serve with and for, I am honored to have made my mother proud to call me her own and I am proud to be a United States Marine. Thank you [Christopher] for not giving up on me, [Thomas] for being a model for all Marines to emulate and being the man of my house when I was deployed [Dore] for being so selfless that you would give your time and life to the service well after anyone would ever do so and taking care of my blood like your own, and all of my Marine friends and family. I want to thank my wife who is sound asleep next to me and my children who went to bed with smiles on their faces for being patient with me this month. November is full of reflection and I am thankful for every opportunity I was ever given. Happy birthday Marines. Semper Fidelis, kill bodies, and most importantly never forget the ones who paid the ultimate price. They are truly the heroes and should be celebrated"
Nick very rarely shares his feelings and thoughts about his experiences in combat.
I literally have to pry it out of him, or I have to hear about it from Marines he has served with.
His humility is what is so attractive about him.
I've learned that Marines that "boast" about their experiences in combat, and are constantly talking about it are the ones who have never truly experienced pain, hurt, loss, and guilt.
So for him to share this on Facebook and be vulnerable...
Opening himself up to social media...
It made me realize just how important a day like celebrating the Marine Corps birthday is to him.
So with that...
Happy 240th Birthday, Marines.