My brother in law is leaving for Iraq today. He is heading out from 29 Palms for a deployment that is going to be stationed in a small town near Fallujah. This small town is probably no larger than where he grew up in Central Illinois. The town he is headed to is probably as worried about his arrival as he is about arriving. He is headed, with 250+ of his platoon (they all work for Joel), out to Protect and Serve the United States People (not the Government, the People). I have the utmost respect for Joel and all of the other members of the Armed Services today that are protecting me, Jennifer, Dryver, and Stryde. It is so hard to comprehend what each of them is sacrificing for a larger good.
Joel came to visit us, in Alexandria, a couple of weeks ago, he was here for training at Quantico, mostly training for First Sergeant duties. Since he was showing up, his Mom (Juju), Dad (Papa), and Brother (Jon) also came out to visit us (to wish him well as he was going to be deployed very soon.)
I must tell you that I continue to be impressed with Joel; he is a level headed, extremely intelligent, very charismatic, and an overall great person to spend time and drink beers with. From looking at his outward appearance and talking to him about his political views or his life in general, you can immediately tell he is ‘A Pure Marine’ (note to self: this is a good title for a movie or book), but he does not fit the so-called ‘Jar Head’ paradigm. Joel is probably one of the brightest people you would ever meet. He would kill on Jeopardy; he would win Millionaire, and probably would be a very successful CEO in the corporate world today. He loves to read and learn. He loves to share his knowledge. He loves to watch and engage in life. He loves to talk about what he knows, but he doesn’t push it on people. He is caring, but also firm. He is friendly and outgoing. This is not the view of the Marine that is shown in the media, but he is 110% US Marine. I can only hope I would make a portion of the same impact on this world, as Joel has already.
He is what a US Marine is, and should strive for everyday. I have a feeling there are many Marines like Joel, we just don’t see them because of our beliefs and what the media portrays. I think it is confusing, to think a man that is so confident, intelligent, and well rounded, would risk his life for very little traditional reward. Note, when I say traditional reward, I mean money, fame, fortune, etc. I am intrigued to understand what Joel sees and is driven by, that most people cannot understand. This is the mystery of the Marines.
I have never been a supporter of the Iraq war, but I do support our government and troops, but not the war. I am deeply sad for the 1000's of people that have died for this war. I am 100% confident that Joel wants to be in Iraq to serve as a Marine. I was exceptionally impressed with the fact that the whole time Joel was at our home, he never showed any signs of regret, fear, sadness, or even criticism towards the war. The only thing he showed was concern and compassion for his Mom, Dad, Brother, and Sister (Jennifer) making sure they were okay with his up coming journey. I am sure he was also concerned with his wife (Lori) and two sons (Douglas and Dane). A man that was about to go to the most dangerous place in the world. Sleep in the desert where people are looking to kill you. Walk around and help out people he does not know, and most that will never appreciate his assistance.
This man is The Pure Marine. This man is whom I am enormously proud to call my Brother.