Recently I was watching my favorite movie that centered around Maine corps history “The Sands of Iwo Jima” and had some thoughts other than why did this film not receive an academy award, I mostly centered on the flag rising. I have had the wonderful opportunity to talk with not one but 2 survivors of that day when the flag went up on mount suribaci. It was a motivator to say the least, something you can’t imagine was the first response. The second was how it made you feel as a Marine, the pride, the sense of purpose, the brotherhood. I have always been fascinated by what the greatest generation endured in their lifetime. They are all but a footnote in history now, including my Marine father who was part of it all.
I have to think of the other times old glory has done this to Marines and other services that endured war or other events that challenged our flag, think back as early as Lt. Presley O’Bannon raising the flag in Derne after capturing a fort with only seven Marines giving the verse in our hymn “to the shores of Tripoli”. Not to forget the National anthem or star spangled banner written by Francis Scott Key over the failure of the British to take Fort McHenry in the war of 1812 which only served as a battle cry.
There are quite a few other events where our flag has either been a rallying cry or has motivate the masses, more recent in our lifetime was when the firefighters of New York raised the flag on one of the fallen towers, we all remember that day and have been closer as a nation ever since.
I think being a veteran and serving under the blanket of freedom this flag provides is an honor witch very few people get to experience and is getting smaller by the day, that is why we need to embrace our brothers in arms and tell our story, yell it from the highest mountain top and preach to the young for they are the ones who have to protect this fragile piece of cloth.
Every time I see this flag raised or paraded by or even folded at a veteran’s funeral it sends chills through me, makes me stand a little straighter, and makes me swell with pride. Funny how a small piece of colored striped cloth with stars can make one feel. I have severed under this flag and am proud to be one of the chosen to be buried under it. Keep the faith
Commandant 3 Rivers Leathernecks