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‘Never Disappoint the Expectations of Their Country’

- May 26, 2024

It’s time – past time – that we simply learn to hear.

Leatherneck Gallery is flooded with light, and that light reflects the words that capture the essence of the United States Marine Corps.

Perhaps none do that better than these:

“The Marines will never disappoint the expectations of the country — never!”
— Captain C. W. Morgan, US Navy

We are a Marine family, and this Memorial Day we are thinking about our Marine, who is stationed far from home. He and his fellow Marines live those words every day; and we as a people draw comfort in knowing that he — and his fellow Marines — will never disappoint the expectations of the country.

Such commitments, however, come at a high cost. Increasingly, it is a cost that too few of us understand or appreciate.

The numbers of military personnel lost don’t do justice to that cost. We can’t feel numbers. Nor can we experience numbers. Numbers simply reflect at a most superficial level the sacrifices that our military troops make.

Entering the National Museum of the Marine Corps on Sunday, where the words defining the Marine Corps are engraved, my wife and I were greeted by an older gentleman who invited us to scan a QR code to access a map of the museum. He then asked a simple question: “Did you serve?”

“No,” I responded, “but my son is a Marine. We appreciate all you did.”

He, smiled, but said nothing.

Unless one has served, I am increasingly coming to appreciate, one cannot know the level of commitment and sacrifice required.

For too many military personnel, the sacrifice is total. Today is set aside to remember those who paid the ultimate price that comes with the commitment to serve.

It is also a day that demands our silence, and our willingness to listen.

The statistics of our waning attachment and understanding of the military are well-known. But they don’t capture the impact of what this detachment is doing to us as a people.

Today, listen to a veteran.

Hear their stories.

Don’t try and understand their experience. Don’t try and relate your experience to theirs.

Hear them. Learn from them. Support them.

It’s the least we can do for those who refuse to fail us.

- Published posts: 238

by Martin Davis EDITOR-IN-CHIEF

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