As I write, it is Veterans Day. Coincidentally last night, November tenth, the annual Marine Corps birthday party took place at the Tratoria, a local Italian restaurant. I hadn´t gone before, not being much of a joiner, but went this time with Vi and Natalia. The assembled were nice people, well along in years, as am I. There were good food, patriotic speeches, and a birthday cake. We sang the Marine Corps Hymn, though “from the halls of Montezuma” was perhaps not a high point of diplomatic appropriateness in Mexico.Read the rest here.
A camaraderie exists among Marines, into which I fit oddly. It starts with boot camp at Parris Island or, for the Hollywood Marines, at the recruit depot in San Diego. Men remember it because it was hard, demanding, a rite of passage to manhood. I understand that boot has been watered down as the country moves toward the goal of a non-violent Marine Corps, but in the Sixties it hadn´t been. If you got through it, you had done something, and you knew it. Those who hadn´t were an inferior species. We remember it with fondness, and a bond.
And then for Marines there are the wars, which we always have. I don´t know why. For most at the Tratoria, it was I suppose Southeast Asia. We had talk of sacrifice and duty. There is a romance to war that has called to men since well before the days of Marcus Aurelius wintering on the Rhine-Danube line, when Rome, not America, was Rome. War is another bond.