I come from a family of proud Americans and from a family of servicemen as well. We celebrate 4th of July, Memorial Day, Labor Day, and of course the upcoming Patriot Day, otherwise known as September 11th.
My Papa, in his heyday also known as Gunny Sergeant Watson, was in the Marine Corp for twenty something years. I'd like to refer to him as a badass if I could. He was in the Army for his first 3 years of service time at 18 years old. Then at 21 he entered the Marine Corp and stayed.
My Papa with my dad, aunt and uncles
While in the army at just 18 he was deployed to Korea to fight in the Korean war. He and a couple of other men were captured while there. They had their wrists and ankles barb wired together to try and keep them from escaping . . . Papa still has scars to this day. He and the other men were able to escape and make their way back home. Papa earned himself a Purple Heart for his courageousness.
Once Papa entered the Marine Corp he knew that was where he was supposed to stay. He doesn't say much about his years in the service, I think a lot of what he saw still haunts him today. He did love being in the Marine Corp and fighting for his country. He went to Vietnam three times on his own admission, he doesn't talk about his time there though. He eventually climbed the ladder in the Marine Corp becoming a Gunny Sergeant, a Senior Drill Instructor. Papa was a badass. He admits that he's not trying to be cocky but that he was very good at what he did. In fact, a few years back a man wrote Papa a letter thanking him for building him up to the man he is today, it was a very flattering letter . . . Papa didn't respond to it :(
Papa traveled the world while he was in the Marine Corp. He's been to several countries and he's seen a lot, good and bad. He stands by the motto, "Once a Marine, Always a Marine."
Every year Papa and Grandma go to Camp Pendleton and RV on Del Mar beach. Papa says that he hated being stationed at Camp Pendleton back then, but he sure loves it now. Marc and Leah and I were able to camp out there with them this past week. It was such a great experience for us and it will be the start of great memories for Leah when she is old enough to remember these trips. We were able to drive all around and have Papa show us the ropes. We saw the tanks and amphibians (tanks that go in water) drive right by us during training. We were able to hear the men and women run by in cadence and singing their songs. It made me proud.
I'm the kind of person that will cry when I hear "Proud to be an American" kind of songs. Well . . . I cry at just about everything so thats not saying much, but nevertheless, I get choked up. I am proud. I'm proud of my Papa for fighting for our country. I'm proud of my dad for spending time in the Marine Corp and wanting to be like his dad. I'm proud of every man and woman that fights for our freedom. I'm proud of the families that support their family members in fighting for us.
I'm proud of every police and fire person that ran to the first sign of danger on September 11th. I'm proud of our nation for standing up for ourselves and going outside of our houses on the days after 9/11 to fly our flags high on the street corners. I'm proud of my husband for putting his life on the line every day he drives into work, he could have a call to go on just like the men and women on 9/11 at any time.
9/11 truck that came through our town
Parts from the WTC
I'm proud to be an American and I hope that this weekend amongst football games and pizza parties you take the time to thank a serviceman, thank God and fly your flags high.
Happy Patriot's Day weekend!
Happy Opening Football Weekend! Go Cowboys (Big bucks riding on this game)!
Happy Birthday to my furry baby girl Sierra!