Wednesday, May 9, 2012

A Matter of Pride

Two years ago, Randall signed up to be one of the pilots from his squadron to fly up to Boston for Marine Week.  He would land the helicopter on Boston Common and stand at the static display answering questions about the Cobra and give people the opportunity to sit in it.  Being that Randall’s parents live only an hour from Boston, I decided to fly up with the kids to see the family and also experience Marine Week myself.  I knew Randall would be busy with the static display and a flyover event, but he would also have time to visit with me and the kids, and my in-laws offered to take the kids to their house in the evening so I could stay in Boston with Randall.  Despite having to make the challenge of flying with a one-year old and a two-year old, I decided it would be worth it to have the chance to see family and hang out in Boston rather than stay cooped up at home all week.

As it turns out, the trip was worth it far beyond what I was expecting.  We did visit with Randall’s family, I did get to explore Boston, and Randall and I did get a few nights alone in the city.  But what I was not expecting was the overwhelming sense of pride I experienced, both for my husband and the Marine Corps, as I watched the events of Marine Week unfold.

When the kids and I landed in Boston, we made our way to baggage claim where Randall and his parents were waiting for us.  Randall was wearing his Deltas, the uniform with the bloodstripe pant, tan shirt, and white cover, as required by all the Marines participating in Marine Week.  When Keira and Clay saw him, they were thrilled to see their daddy and gave him big hugs and kisses.  I overheard some passersby commenting on how cute it was and it was neat to know that we were connected to this man in uniform.  Later that evening, Randall’s parents took the kids home with them and Randall and I headed out to a Red Sox game with the other Marine pilot who flew with Randall.  We walked along the streets towards the subway that would take us to Fenway Park.  At first, it was very intimidating for me to be walking next to two Marines in uniform, even though one of them was my own husband.  I can’t explain why, but it was as though I was walking next to two superstars and couldn’t understand how I could be so lucky be there.  But as we continued on, my intimidation turned into pride.  As people passed by, they would shout out, “Thank you for your service,” or would even reach out to shake their hands.  Furthermore, I felt safer next to these two men than I could ever feel walking around a big city.  As we neared Fenway, more people continued to thank the two of them for their service.  One guy who was trying to sell tickets chose to just give them to the guys when he saw them in uniform.  As he handed them over, he too said thank you.  My pride was quickly beginning to rise.

The next day Randall had a static display and the kids were with their grandparents, so I decided to venture out to the Quincy Market area.  Before I could do any shopping, I had to find some coffee and breakfast.  I knew there was a Dunkin Donuts on just about every corner in Boston, but for the life of me I couldn’t find one.  I finally asked someone and he pointed me to the nearest shop.  Somehow the timing and location of my breakfast venture landed me an amazing opportunity.  As I walked away from Dunkin Donuts and toward a friendly looking grassy area, I realized large black SUV’s lining the streets.  Not just any SUV, but the type you see in movies and on TV that carry somebody important.  I noticed crowds starting to line the sidewalk and Marines standing very still with their eyes directed towards something.  My first thought was, uh oh, maybe I’m not supposed to be here.  But then I saw what, or whom, they were watching.  The Commandant of the Marine Corps.  Just to be certain, I asked one of the nearby Marines if that’s who it was.  He said yes.  It was amazing to see the attention and respect each and every Marine had for this man as he walked by. 

I followed far behind so that I could perhaps get some pictures.  At one point the Commandant stopped to talk to some Marines and I took out my camera, not trying to get too close.  The Marine with whom I had spoken saw me and asked if I would like to get a picture with the Commandant.  I gladly accepted, shook the General’s hand, and even spoke to him about how my husband was a Cobra pilot, his squadron, and his deployments.  The fact that this very important person took the time to greet me was beyond my wildest expectations.  My feelings of pride rose even higher.

Later that day I passed by an area where the Marine Corps band was playing live for the crowd.  I listened as they played those marches we all know so well, including the Marine Corps hymn and, my favorite, Stars and Stripes Forever.  As I stood there I thought about the history of all these songs and the meaning they have for our country.  I thought about how far our country has come and the selfless soldiers who have fought to get us there.  I thought about our Flag and what it represents.  I thought about my freedom and how I couldn’t have it if no one was willing to fight for it.  I was thankful, and at that point my heart was filled with nothing but pride.

If you ever have the opportunity to attend this type of event, I strongly suggest you take it.  Go and experience how many people truly are thankful for our service members.  See how the military humbly comes together to make this nation great.  Watch the amazing displays provided by static displays, fly overs, or parade marches.  Observe the professionalism and respect that emanates from each soldier as they represent their country.    Just watch, take it all in, and wait for that pride to fill your soul.
The Marine Aviation Centennial Week will take place May 15th through 20th 2012 near Washington D.C.  It is my understanding that a Sunset Parade and flyover will take place the evening of the 16th.  Don’t miss this opportunity to see what your service members are doing for you!


  1. How cool, Lisa! I met Mrs. Amos a few weeks ago and she was an amazing lady! What an honor to have met her husband! I'm sure he was just as warm and personable as his wife!

  2. We are incredibly proud of Randall, but don't forget that we are also proud of YOU and the other military spouses who sacrifice so much and work so hard. Great post! Love you!

  3. So awesome... made me tear up. I am super proud of my Marine too.... can't imagine how awesome that must have been!

  4. Hi Lisa! Thanks for the blog comment! We should get together for a glass of wine before you leave Jacksonville! I LOVE meeting new bloggers!

    Your blog is way too cute and I LOVED this post!

    - Nicole