Eulogy for a Fellow Marine

One thing that has always separated Marines from others is respect for their history and traditions. Many years ago, during the Philippine Insurrection, a particularly bloody campaign was fought on the island of Samar. For years afterwards, it was customary in the Marine Corps, when a veteran of that battle entered the room, to say "Stand, gentlemen. He served on Samar."

I've often thought that we should have retained that custom. There have been a number of desperate battles fought and won by Marines that deserve similar recognition… Belleau Wood, Guadalcanal, Tarawa, the Chosin Reservoir, Khe Sahn. However, if there could be only one battle so honored, it would have to be Iwo Jima... the costliest battle ever fought by Marines. It was said of Iwo Jima that "Uncommon valor was a common virtue."

My dad fought on Iwo Jima in the same regiment; in fact, the same battalion as those who raised the flag. He knew most of them. His picture once appeared on the cover of Leatherneck Magazine, lying low on the black sands of the Iwo Jima beachhead. He received no medals for his efforts, but he was always a hero to me. Marines always bring home their dead. They honor them and they bury them. Today, in the great tradition of the Marine Corps, we honor this fallen hero. It is a source of great pride to me, that I am able to honor my father in the manner of a fellow warrior.

Goodbye, Dad. Thank you for everything. Thank you for teaching me a love of history, and baseball, and jazz music. Thank you for your wonderful stories and your marvelous sense of humor. Thank you for your incredible photographs, and your clever poems. Thank you for being there when I needed you most. And, even though you didn't mean to do it, thank you for motivating me to become a Marine.

Stand, gentlemen. He served on Iwo Jima.

Semper Fi, Dad.