Tuesday, December 18, 2007
Yesterday my old platoon had the honor of traveling to Huntington Beach, CA, hometown of Nathan Windsor, to take part in a rededication ceremony for a memorial to the fallen heroes of that city. Nathan lived a good part of his life in Huntington Beach, and his name will now forever be inscribed on the granite rock that sits in front of the city hall.
There were plenty of mixed emotions surrounding the whole day. For myself personally it was a great opportunity to see a lot of guys that I never have the chance to see anymore. I think that many of us had done a good job of moving on since the deployment, not of forgetting what had happened, but moving on towards the future. Before we had changed into our blues or the ceremony had even begun, myself and a few buddies went across the street to grab a bite to eat. We ended up talking over a beer about how weird it was to be attending a memorial for a friend. A year ago this time we were just heading out on pre-deployment leave, and I don't think a single person thought that we were going to lose anyone in Iraq. Of course we were prepared for the possibility, but all we had heard about was how pacified the area we were heading was supposed to be. I never expected to see a friend's name on a wall. Walking up the steps at city hall and seeing Nathan's name on that wall really brought me back to the reality of what happened in Iraq.
The ceremony itself was very well done and a great tribute to three fallen Marines. There were local and state representatives, the mayor, the CO of 1st Marines, a multitude of police and firefighters, a 21 gun salute, and a bagpipe player. Speaking of the bagpipes, I used to think that Amazing Grace on the bagpipes was one of the coolest things in the world, but I don't think I can ever listen to it again for the rest of my life without almost tearing up.
The inscription on the memorial says it best, "Lest we forget the heroes of all our wars." And one of the speakers explained it best when he said, "This isn't a memorial to war, or to dying in war, but a memorial to life, lives lived to the fullest."
at 7:53 PM