By Glen C. Schulz
Author of “Unlawful Flight”.
“The pleasure was ours.”
My stepdaughter and her three children were flying in for the weekend and we were so looking forward to it that we knew it would be the highlight of the week for us. With all of the kids and grandchildren in town we decided to take them to Galveston for the opening parade of the 2007 Mardis Gras and because of the extremely cold weather we didn’t expect much. But we had such a good time catching beads and enjoying all of the fun on the strand that we certainly expected it to be the weekend highlight. After a while we found out that the parade would begin shortly on the seawall and so we rushed over to get a good spot. The children were quite excited and I must confess that I was as well as we waited for the parade to begin. At just about the same time, a small contingent of marines began to assemble on the very same corner as us and we thought little about it at first until they became a good sized group. The group included members from the marine auxiliary, marine veterans, some active marines and several marines that had been wounded in combat and are now disabled vets.
As time went on and the camaraderie between them became more and more obvious to us, we began to be deeply touched by them, more so than the normal debt of gratitude that we carry for our soldiers at all times. Their friendliness and genuineness welcomed us into the group with them and we all became marines, albeit briefly, and for the duration of the parade we were one. Picture taking started and while sharing these few moments with them, that feeling of gratitude that we have for them became miniscule compared to what we realized that they were due. By the time the parade was over, my family felt like there was just no way to even begin to pay back what is owed to those soldiers and to all soldiers; these defenders of our freedom and country. They willingly sacrificed life and limb for us and now stood beside us maimed but proud. In fact, some couldn’t stand, but were proudly held up firmly by their comrades for the picture taking.
While taking the last picture of the group, my family felt it absolutely necessary to thank them somehow for what they have given of themselves in our behalf. I seized the opportunity to thank them and I explained as best I could, all the while choking on a very big lump in my throat, that because of their selflessness, my family and I could travel freely and watch a parade or do whatever we choose to do. Then they hugged us and told us that meeting us had been their pleasure and fighting for our freedom was an honor they didn't take lightly. And so by accident, this encounter with these marines became the highlight of the day for my entire family and gentlemen, without a doubt, the pleasure was ours.
God bless all of the men and women in all branches of the service who serve their country (any country) and defend it at any cost so that we can remain free. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.