Gift From a Stranger? Not When it’s a Fellow Marine!
When it comes to the fine thread of life that is sewn into everyone's lives, the strongest bind is often one that is woven by the men and women who serve in the military.
I experienced that bond the other day while I was helping listeners collect some of the prizes they had won in contests on our station. I had just finished talking with one of those listeners when a gentleman came through the door. As he stood in line quietly waiting to be helped, another listener struck up a conversation with him about the hot weather we were having.
Talking With The Man
The gentleman told the other person that he was enjoying the weather, that he had moved up from California recently and that he loved living here in Yakima.
Their conversation was very entertaining, especially when it came to sports. But the two men halted their banter when the first one stepped up to the counter to speak with me. He was a rather well-dressed businessman.
I helped him with what he came for and he was about to walk to the front door when I noticed that the tie he was wearing had the U.S. Marine Corps' eagle, globe and anchor emblem on it.
A Birthday Idea
I had to mention to him that it was a great looking tie and asked where he’d found it.
He said he was a Marine and he wasn't sure how he got that tie. I told him that my dad was also a Marine and was about to celebrate his 92nd birthday. I told him the tie had given me an idea for a gift.
“Your dad will be 92 and served in the Marines?” he asked. “Yes, sir,” I replied.
“Your dad served during Korea?” "Yes, sir," I again replied.
“Those Marines back then were tough sons-of-a-bitches -- he must have some war stories to tell,” the gentleman said.
I told him that when my dad’s troop was about to leave for Korea, they were just told they were headed to the South Pacific.
The Marine base on the other side of Pearl Harbor needed a man who was experienced with a machine gun -- which my dad was.
A Random act of Kindness and Sacrifice
To make the story short, Dad's gun and duffle bag made it to Korea and Dad ended up doing guard duties at the base and on the trains that traveled with important supplies.
While I was telling the stories to this gentleman, he started to fuss with his collar.
Before I had finished, he had taken his tie off.
He told me to give the tie to my dad for his birthday -- from one Marine to another Marine.
“I didn't mean for you to give me your tie,” I said.
He replied, “I consider it an honor to give this tie to your dad.”
Then he folded it with care and handed it to me.
This week Dad will celebrate his birthday with a surprise visit by two of his great-grandsons -- and in a wrapped box, a U.S. Marine Corps tie ... from one Marine to another Marine.
Though they served at different times the common bond is being Marines,
The tie that binds. A band of brothers.