It's Memorial Day. I'm remembering my Dad, former 1st Sergeant M.O. Roberts. In 1958, he enlisted in the United States Marine Corps at the age of eighteen and served for twenty years. He was deployed to the Bay of Pigs during the Cuban Missile Crisis and later to China Beach, Vietnam in 1971. He was stationed at San Diego, CA, Monterrey, CA, Kaneohe, HI, Camp Lejuene, NC, Kadena AFB, Okinawa, and Camp Pendleton, CA. He also spent time in Maryland, South Carolina, Germany, Portugal, Spain and Morocco and probably other places he never told me about.
My first ten years were spent as a Marine Brat...we traveled, we learned, we were patriotic. He took me to watch maneuvers and parades, to see tanks and helicopters up close, even to the mess and the NCO club. I am still proud of being the daughter of a Marine. I am always torn when people criticize the military and our country's involvement in foreign wars. He taught me about humility, respect, honor, justice, responsibility and service. He was the epitome of the adage, "Once a Marine, Always a Marine."
In our family, every day is Memorial Day and Veterans' Day. We lost him nine years ago after a brief, intense illness. There is a plaque on his grave commemorating his service to our country and a small American flag waves there. We remember him for the citizen and soldier he was and above all for the loving and proud father he was.
Right now, it's Fleet Week in New York. I saw hundreds of Marines Navy sailors, and airmen in and around Times Square. I wish I had time to thank each one of them personally for their willingness to serve.