Marines Code alive, well in Staunton

2010/03/25 - WEB MATERIAL

There is an instant bond when people find out that they served in the Marine Corps, be it past or present. I am not putting down the other service branches, but there is no doubt Marines share a special bond. “We take care of our own.” This is a saying we commonly use. I recently found this to still be true.

On March 3, my grandfather, Lee T. Edmond, passed away.

He served his country by enlisting in the Marine Corps for more than 20 years. He also was the reason why I enlisted in the USMC. He retired as an E7, Gunnery Sgt., and his last wish was to have a Marine Corps burial. His last wish almost didn’t come true.

My grandfather wanted to be buried in his dress blues, the sharp uniform Marines are known for. The problem was he was 74, and he didn’t do physical training (PT) five times a week. Needless to say, his uniform didn’t fit anymore. I called every base and military surplus within 500 miles, and I checked the Internet. I could not find anything in his size. Desperately, I went to see the Marine recruiter in Staunton, Staff Sgt. Brandon Childress, and I owe this Marine a lot. When you say Marine, you get a mental image in your head. He reminded me of the Swede in the Clint Eastwood movie “Heartbreak Ridge.”

Staff Sgt. Childress helped me look for the uniform with his connections. After nothing turned up, he did something I wasn’t expecting. He went to his home, got his dress blues and gave it to my grandfather. He said “Marines take care of our own” and that he would be honored to do this. He wouldn’t take any money, and he even offered more help with ribbons, a belt and gloves. Just then, something came over me: remembering Parris Island and the feeling I had when I finally earned the right to be called Marine. Staff Sgt. Childress made it a personal mission to make sure a Marine had his last wish.

I want to take this opportunity to thank Staff Sgt. Childress. You are a Marine to the core. My grandfather would have been honored to know you. He would have given you a firm handshake and said “Semper Fi.”

DAN RALSTON Staunton

Story Source: http://www.newsleader.com/article/20100325/OPINION03/3250326
Image Source: http://www.immortals-of-wyvern.com/uniform.html