Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial Day

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.

7 comments:

kari said...

What a lovely tribute.

Roxie said...

Your Dad sounds great - Happy Memorial Day.

Esther said...

Happy Memorial Day. Thanks for sharing your father's story. We ask a great deal of the men and women who serve our country and we should always honor and remember that service.

Kevin Daly said...

Your father and mine would have gotten along so well; they both enlisted in the same year at the same age.

Though my dad was twenty years out of the Marines when I was born, I had many similar aspects to my upbringing, with visits to ships, parades, bases (several that your father was stationed at) and memorial services. I used to sing "The Marine Hymn" (all three verses!) when I was a child for his friends, and used to go with him to celebrate the birthday every November.

Happy Memorial Day and a "Semper Fi" for your father!

chelsea said...

The men and women of the military never cease to amaze me. Like Esther said, we ask so much of them, but rarely give them the thanks they so very much deserve. Here's to your dad and all the others!

Steve On Broadway (SOB) said...

Wonderful post, Sarah. I was in one of nation's many National Cemeteries yesterday and was humbled by all the grave markers of those who served our country so valiantly.

Anonymous said...

Good Tribute to Jenks! He loved Being a Marine, Cody would of loved going to places like with his PA PA!!