Those of you that know me know that I have the priviledge to coach a boys high school soccer team. When one has the opportunity to spend hundreds of hours with a group of kids during a four year span, you develop a certain bond with most of the kids that transcends sports and school. This morning I was standing in line to pay for a few things at a Convenience store when a tall guy grabbed me from behind. I whirled around to see a Marine in full dress staring down at me. As I turned I heard the words "Hey Coach." I was looking up at a former goalkeeper on our team and now a newly minted U.S. Marine.
What happened to that little boy I knew in youth soccer? Where did the young man go that spent so many hours goofin' on his coaches and teammates? The little guy is now a chiseled United States Marine. After I collected my thoughts I remembered that another member of the same team is now in the U.S. Army and left for Iraq about three weeks ago for a one year tour. I told the Marine to keep his Army teammate in his thoughts and as we departed I spent some time contemplating what a great country we live in. I remembered another teammate of their's that even as a sophomore would run around the field shouting Hoora! Hoora! We would break from the halftime huddle and he would always lead us in a big Hoora. Needless to say, he is now a United States Marine.
What makes America great? Its people I think. Its ideals as well. Without interjecting politics I can't imagine living anywhere else on the planet. We didn't go looking for a fight with terrorists. We didn't invade another country unprovoked. We don't sit around the Pentagon thinking of ways to burn billions of dollars just to see if the war machine still works. (Do we?)
What an amazing country we live in when there are still young people that are willing to volunteer to serve in the Armed Forces of the United States to serve and protect the freedoms of their families, friends and neighbors. They are not just good young men. They are the best kids from the nicest families. They come from all economic backgrounds and incomes. The kids are the cream of the crop. They have VOLUNTEERED to protect us. They are serving so I may take my young son to the wrestling matches he loves. They are serving so my wife and kids can vacation at the beach even if I am working. They are the best kids in America. I know. I've been around them for years.
I would like to thank them all and wish all of them godspeed and a healthy, safe return home.
Thank you all and in your honor I will post St. Crispin's Day to honor the Band of Brothers held so dearly by our soccer team over the years. This is for you.
St. Crispin's Day - Ye Band of Brothers
What's he that wishes so? My cousin Westmoreland? No, my fair cousin; If we are mark'd to die, we are enow To do our country loss; and if to live, The fewer men, the greater share of honour. God's will! I pray thee, wish not one man more. By Jove, I am not covetous for gold, Nor care I who doth feed upon my cost; It yearns me not if men my garments wear; Such outward things dwell not in my desires. But if it be a sin to covet honour, I am the most offending soul alive. No, faith, my coz, wish not a man from England. God's peace! I would not lose so great an honour As one man more methinks would share from me For the best hope I have. O, do not wish one more! Rather proclaim it, Westmoreland, through my host, That he which hath no stomach to this fight, Let him depart; his passport shall be made, And crowns for convoy put into his purse; We would not die in that man's company That fears his fellowship to die with us. This day is call'd the feast of Crispian. He that outlives this day, and comes safe home, Will stand a tip-toe when this day is nam'd, And rouse him at the name of Crispian. He that shall live this day, and see old age, Will yearly on the vigil feast his neighbours, And say 'To-morrow is Saint Crispian.' Then will he strip his sleeve and show his scars, And say 'These wounds I had on Crispian's day.' Old men forget; yet all shall be forgot, But he'll remember, with advantages, What feats he did that day. Then shall our names, Familiar in his mouth as household words- Harry the King, Luke, David, Jake- Be in their flowing cups freshly rememb'red. This story shall the good man teach his son; And Crispin Crispian shall ne'er go by, From this day to the ending of the world, But we in it shall be remembered- We few, we happy few, we band of brothers; For he to-day that sheds his blood with me Shall be my brother; be he ne'er so vile, This day shall gentle his condition; And gentlemen in England now-a-bed Shall think themselves accurs'd they were not here, And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks That fought with us upon Saint Crispin's day.
MERRY CHRISTMAS to the United States Armed Forces.