Happy Birthday to the United States Marines

United States Marine Corps War Memorial — Washington D.C.

This is one of those days when I will invariably think of my father. Sergeant Michael James Ahearn of the United States Marine Corps. I don’t know a lot of the details of my father’s military career. He served one tour in Vietnam between 1965 and 66. Reached the rank of sergeant. Had the most incredible stories — happy and sad. And even though he didn’t stay in the Corps for 20 or more years, my father was a Marine every day of his life.

Courage. Honor. Commitment. He lived these things. It was obvious in the way worked, taking pride in a job well done. It was obvious in the way he held doors for people, the way he was always courteous, in the way no one was foolish enough to mess with my father when he got that certain gleam in his eyes. In a million small ways he never let go of the things he learned from the Marine Corps.

I never understood how much of his personality came from his time in the Marines until my little brother returned home from Marine boot camp. One of my favorite memories of my Dad and Eric (my brother) is from this time period. Apparently Eric had developed a reputation for being meticulous about his uniform while at Camp Lejeune and it was something he took quite a lot of pride in. He’s home. Dad and Eric are in the living room and their shining their shoes. Keep in mind these are boys we’re talking about. All men will at some point fall victim to their inner boy mentality given the right set of circumstances. For Dad and Eric, that happened to be shoe shining. Of course, it became a race. Boys.

I think Eric actually expected to win. Why not? He won every time at boot camp. Logical assumption. He finished one of his shoes and looked up. The expression on his face was priceless. Dad is finishing up his second. Eric just sits there kind of stunned and Dad smiles – “What did you expect? I’ve been doing this a lot longer than you.”

Life is in the details, in the myriad of small things and the way one does them. I admire the Marines for a lot of reasons. But what I love best is their “Once a Marine, always a Marine,” mentality. It has certainly been true of the Marines I have known, and they have my deepest respect for it.

On that note I would like to send out a happy birthday to all Marines on this the 235th Birthday of the United States Marine Corps. Best wishes. Semper Fi.


3 thoughts on “Happy Birthday to the United States Marines

  1. Sis thanks for the great reminder of times with dad that are gone but never forgotten. Some of my favorite Marine Corps memories are of dad and I at graduation. Even though I say there were a couple hundred people in the stands dads presence was unmistakable it was a matter of seconds before I saw him. He seemed like a giant among men. His head held high shoulders back with his red Marine corps cover (hat) snug on his head just the way I am sure it was when he was in the Marines. It was a feeling of pride I will never forget. The next memory I have on that day was when the band played nothing could be finer then to be in carolina in the morning. The crowd erupted in applause. I guess because we were in carolina in the morning and nothing else mattered than to see their sons and daughters earn the title of United States Marines. Here is the kicker of the day though, my senior drill instructor Sergeant Adkins told me that morning before graduation if I wasn’t the first one back to the barracks he was going to throw my
    “Shit” of the third deck of the barracks. This man and the drill instructors under him had it seemed to me gone above and beyond to break me every chance they could for the past 13 weeks, and I always came out smiling I never wanted them to think they could even come close to breaking me. Oh but they tried. So anyway back graduation when it was all said and done of course the first person I ran to was dad the look on his face the words he said still gives me chills to this day. Next was mom of course. I told mom I loved her grabbed dad and said let’s go I have to be first. Dad said first for what as I rapidly explained my predicament. Dad told see you at the car and off we went damn near as fast as I could pull dad. We passed senior drill adkins going up the stairs dad tried to talk to him. I said I told you dad I have to be first. Thinking back at the look dad and Sergeant Adkins gave each other, it was look of mutual respect and admiration with just a few words spoken between them. By the way I was first and after all that dad got to meet and speak and of course swap stories with all my drill instructors with me there right next to him standing shoulder to shoulder with them. I was never so proud in my life. Not only because I earned the title of United States Marine, but my father my hero was right there with me and he was just as proud that day of me as the day he graduated boot camp some thirty years ago when he became a Marine. So you said it best sis dad was a Marine and lived it every day of his life with honor courage and commitment. I swear though sis you are also a U S Marine, you have the highest levels of honor courage and commitment as any Marine I know and you are as proud of the Marine Corps as any I have ever met. I know that is why no matter where you go no matter what you maybe doing at the time when you meet a Marine they talk you and you to them like you have always known each other because they see it in you to. I love you Sis you are and always will be AIMT

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