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Yo, Marine!

by Mark Riley posted Jul 14 2012 2:22PM

I was going to do a blog entry this week about the battle over stop and frisk vs. gun violence, but fate intervened. I realize that every now and then, things happen in my own life which are worth sharing. I tell this story in the belief that, if only one person is affected by it, telling the tale is worth my while.

It was a Saturday morning like most. I was on my way to the gym, but beforehand I had to stop at the bank. The small city in which I live is racially diverse, and considered one of the most progressive in the state where it's located. That's a big reason why I enjoy living here. As I was leaving the bank, I happened to see a young member of our armed forces walking down the street in the full uniform of a US Marine. With him was either a friend or a sibling. As they walked past me, I heard the Marine say to someone on the street, "You're welcome, sir." I realized someone had thanked him.


As I got in may car and started to drive to the gym, the strangest thing happened. I suddenly realized I needed to thank this kid, just as the person walking past him had. It's not like I hadn't done it before. Several years ago, I was in the Norfolk, Va. airport, one which has a fair number of service people passing through it. I spent some time sitting on a bench with some uniformed people, and took the time to thank them for their service. I'll never forget the surprised smiles on their faces as they said, "Thank you, sir."


I knew the Marine this Saturday morning was heading in a particular direction, and if I went around the block I would pass him, even though it wasn't on my way to the gym. And so I drove around the block, and sure enough, there he was with his friend/relative, and another person who was talking to him. I couldn't make out what was said, but the guy shook his hand, then walked off in a different direction. I knew what I had to do. I slowed down, rolled down my window and said, "Yo Marine! Thank you!"


At first he looked just a little surprised. Then he broke out in a huge smile, and replied, "Thank YOU sir!" I kept on driving and the memory of Norfolk Airport came right back to me. The moral of this story? The place where I live isn't one of those that wears its Americanism on its sleeve. I consider myself a person of peace, and I'm opposed to war in virtually all circumstances. Yet there's something that feels right about a US Marine, walking down the street in full uniform, gratefully acknowledging the thanks from just plain folks who respect his service to our country.


A small gesture on a summer day. One worth repeating, isn't it? 

Filed Under :
Topics : Human Interest
Location : Virginia
07/14/2012 2:22PM
Yo Marine!
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07/16/2012 10:27AM
US Armed Forces
It was good of you to thank the marine for his service to our country. For too long, our Armed forces were not thanked. When they served in Viet Nam, when they came home, many were abused. No matter what we think of the policy of the war that theyfought, they serve us and protect us. Suortly after September 11, 2001, on my way to and from work, I saw men in uniform (probably some women too) patroling Penn Station. I always thanked them for being there to protect us. Harriet from Bayside
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