A mothers son goes to Iraq, part 7.

I heard from Marshall today. He's doing very well. Despite the heat and constant stress of a hostile environment, he still has a good attitude and is confident that he made the right decision about joining the Marines. For security reasons, he's unable to discuss anything about what he's doing in the sandbox, so he likes to discuss what he wants to do when he returns to the states and when he gets out of the Marine Corps.

Marshall at attentionWe bought Marshall a 1982 Chevy Silverado Pickup for Christmas when he was 16 and he's been thinking about driving it back to California when he returns. We really question that decision because the truck needs alot of work. The air conditioner went out on it in his Senior Year of high school and when we reminded him of that, he said, "I can do without air conditioning. I'm already in 110 degree heat!" Unfortunately, the window motors are out too, so that wouldn't even be bearable, except wintertime. Maybe we'll be able to come up with a different alternative.

Another thing Marshall wants to do when he gets back to the states is try bull riding. One of my co-workers competed in rodeos in his younger days and Marshall's been wanting to go to his place when he gets leave and try riding a bull. That will definitely be a photo opportunity. Marshall will probably do well because he's always picked up anything physical very easily. That's definitely a trait that he got from his Dad because I have no athletic ability at all.

Beyond those two dreams are Marshall's dream for after the Corps. My parents bought a piece of property in the Texas Hill Country about 40 years ago, and Marshall would like to build a small house on the property and live there. The property currently has a very old, turn of the century farmhouse on it that would need alot of work to become livable. It consists of four rooms and no bathroom. There's a claw-footed bathtub on the back porch that Marshall really wants to try. Of course, there's no one around to see him. Compared to what he's living in now, the house will probably seem luxurious. I'm sure all of our military heroes daydream about home. The images probably keep them sane and give them something to strive towards.

MarshallWe went to the local Fourth of July fireworks show as we've done many times before. The first song that was played on the radio was "America the Beautiful" and it was followed by the hymns for the Army, Air Force, Navy, Coast Guard and finally the Marines. As the tears flowed down my face, I reminisced about my childhood and the sense of pride that my Father and Grandfather had about this great nation. My parents' album collection didn't consist of The Beatles and The Beach Boys like other kids parents had during the 1960's. Their record collection consisted of showtunes and patriotic music. We grew up listening to the patriotic music. My Dad was always moved with emotion at the sight of our military or the sound of a band playing patriotic music. People of Dad's and Grandpa's generation didn't question serving our country. Now we live in a society that questions why my son would chose to enlist, especially during wartime. Now we live in a society that views the Fourth of July holiday as just another day off of work. Now we live in a society that questions why we're "over there." Nothing angers me more than hearing people say, "Is he crazy?" or "We shouldn't be over there" when I'm telling them with great pride that my son is a Marine serving in Iraq. Because of brave, unselfish people like Marshall, we're able to celebrate the Fourth of July. Marshall has chosen a path that very few people choose to trod and because of him, I'm one of the few, the proud, a Marine Parent. I'm extremely proud of this title and extremely proud of my son. As my son was becoming a Marine and receiving his Eagle, Globe and Anchor nearly a year ago, I knew that his Grandfathers, Grandmother, and Great Grandparents were watching from above and telling all the angels in God's Glory, "That's my Grandson. He's a United States Marine."

Please continue to pray for our troops safety.