Sunday, October 24, 2010

Semper Fi

This is the story of a wounded Marine meeting the Commandant, as told by Former President Ronald Reagan in a speech, in 1987
My dad use to tell me about this, and now I just stumbled across it. It made me cry.

Excerpt from President Ronald Reagan’s March 4, 1987 speech, dealing with the Marine Barracks Bombing in Beirut, Lebanon:

“…May I share something with you I think you’d like to know? It’s something that happened to the Commandant of our Marine Corps, General Paul Kelley, while he was visiting our critically injured Marines in an Air Force Hospital. It says more than any of us could ever hope to say about the gallantry and heroism of these young men who serve so willingly so that others might have a chance at peace and freedom in their own lives and in the life of their country. I’ll let General Kelley’s words describe the incident.

He spoke of a ‘young marine with more tubes going in and out of his body than I have ever seen in one body. He couldn’t see very well. He reached up and grabbed my four stars, just to make sure I was who I said I was. He held my hand with a firm grip. He was making signals , and we realized he wanted to tell me something. We put a pad of paper in his hand - and he wrote “Semper Fi.”

Well, if you’ve been a Marine or if, like myself, you’re an admirer of the Marines, you know those words are a battlecry, a greeting, and a legend in the Marine Corps. They’re Marine shorthand for the motto of the Corps - “Semper Fidelis” — “Always Faithful.”

General Kelley has a reputation for being a very sophisticated general and a very tough Marine. But he cried when he saw those words, and who can blame him?”

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