I never went to any of my High School class reunions. They were never that important to me. I don’t miss the cliques, the constant judgments or the blatant cruelty. On the other hand, I would never miss any of my Marine Corps reunions. Recently, I had the privilege and the opportunity to gather together again, with a group of people, whom I have come to know as family.
There are certain segments of one’s life which, in retrospect, turn out to be the catalyst for the person one has become. For me, this time came in the mid 1980’s, while serving with the Marine unit stationed in Rota, Spain. “The Barracks” was home to young men and women from all walks of life. So many different worlds converging, it was a situation to which I had never been exposed.
As an impressionable young man, yet considered to be relatively smart, I was amazed at how much I didn’t know. I was vulnerable to my surroundings. Looking back, I was lucky to have my fellow Marines. My courage, strength, and my wisdom, I owe to them. I am proud of the man I have become. And I don’t think I could be who I am, without my brothers in arms.
The meeting, in St. Augustine, Florida, was impressive. As I looked into the arriving faces of my former comrades, the emotions came flooding through my normally stoic façade. It was like stepping through the portal of a surrealistic time machine. For a period of four days, my past, present, and my future came together in the same space and time. There were hugs, a few tears, handshakes, a lot of reminiscing, and a bit of alcohol.
Posing for and taking pictures, sharing meals and sharing stories, swimming, sightseeing, golfing, and making new memories (The Great Pelican heist), generally goofing around and enjoying each others’ company. This special extended weekend has given me something to look forward to. So thank you, to my Marine Corps family, I’ll see you again next year.