My friend Sherri Francescon took this picture (but I did the croppin', baby!) earlier this summer at the Sunset Parade, which is held every Tuesday from June to August at the Iwo Jima Memorial. The Marine band and silent drill teams put on a show for free for anyone who can grab a seat on the soft, grassy lawn.
You guys remember Sherri, right? Her husband Patrick was in Iraq last year, bustin' up terrorist junk in Fallujah. Then he came home.
She loves it when I use that picture. Before Patrick got home, Sherri and I and a group of friends went to the Sunset Parade to watch the few and the proud. And, wow.
"I love and respect every Marine that has ever served, because we knew when we signed up that we might be called on to give our lives for the country that we love. I only have one more thing to say and it comes from the bottom of my heart and soul, SEMPER FI."
"This year’s celebration again finds many from our ranks serving with distinction in harm’s way. As we have for the past 231 years, our Corps is answering the nation’s call. I can report first hand that our Marines fighting on the front lines of the long war on terror are performing brilliantly, acquitting themselves with honor, dedication, and dignity in difficult and dangerous environments."
"Born in an old Philadelphia alehouse, with the barkeep as its first officer, the fledgling Continental Marine Corps was composed of a motley band of adventurers and street toughs; nothing like the 178,000-plus elite U.S. Marine Corps we know today. But somewhere along the way the proverbial formula was discovered. According to tradition – and in Lt. Gen. Victor H. “Brute” Krulak’s book, First to Fight – Marines started telling themselves they were the best. They started believing it, and they’ve been busy proving it ever since."
“While I was in that house, I made three life or death decisions,” Kasal said. “I never thought I would live through any of them, but I did what I did to help the other Marines.”
Uncommon valor remains a common virtue among these men and women, thank God.
All photos by Sherri Francescon.