The salesman

I’ve told this story before, but it’s appropriate today.

One afternoon, two friends of mine and I stopped by my uncle’s house. He was working as the deputy director of Military Affairs at the White House, and the three of us were spending a long weekend at my grandparent’s house near Mount Vernon. My friends never forgot the way he introduced himself to them; he pointed to a hat, a fur thing with a red star on it, and the first words out of his mouth were:

“You know the difference between you and me? I killed the guy who wore that hat.”

We spent a few hours there with him, listened to his stories and otherwise shot the breeze. The man, to this day, is incapable of talking to any young male without selling them on the Corps, and is a salesman nonpareil. By the time we left, we were singing the Marine Corps anthem in the car and arguing about which branch of the Corps we wanted to serve in. We were halfway back to campus when the spell finally wore off and Big Chilly suddenly said: “Wait a minute, I don’t want to join the military! What the hell are we thinking?”

But here’s to those who did and became the finest warriors the world has ever known. Here’s to you, Uncle Chuck, and to you too, Eric and JC. And most of all, here’s to you, Gamp. We never, ever forget you, but especially not today.

Happy 230th birthday, Marines.