Indigo Insights

Wednesday, November 10, 2004


The average age of the military man is 19 years. He is a short haired, tight-muscled kid who, under normal circumstances, is considered by society as half man, half boy. Not yet dry behind the ears, not old enough to buy a beer, but old enough to die for his country.

He never really cared much for work and he would rather wax his own car than wash his father's; but he has never collected unemployment either.

He's a recent High School graduate; he was probably an average student, pursued some form of sport activities, drives a ten year old jalopy, and has a steady girlfriend that either broke up with him when he left, or swears to be waiting when he returns from half a world away.

He listens to country, rock and roll, or hip-hop, or rap, or jazz, or swing, and 155mm Howitzers.

He is 10 or 15 pounds lighter now than when he was at home because he is working or fighting from before dawn to well after dusk.

He has trouble spelling, thus letter writing is a pain for him, but he can field strip a rifle in 30 seconds and reassemble it in less time in the dark. He can recite to you the nomenclature of a machine gun or grenade launcher and use either one effectively if he must.

He digs foxholes and latrines and can apply first aid like a professional.

He can march until he is told to stop or stop until he is told to march.

He obeys orders instantly and without hesitation, but he is not without spirit or individual dignity.

He is self-sufficient. He has two sets of fatigues: he washes one and wears the other. He keeps his canteens full and his feet dry.

He sometimes forgets to brush his teeth, but never to clean his rifle.

He can cook his own meals, mend his own clothes, and fix his own hurts. If you're thirsty, he'll share his water with you; if you are hungry, his food.

He'll even split his ammunition with you in the midst of battle when you run low.

He has learned to use his hands like weapons and weapons like they were his hands. He can save your life - or take it, because that is his job.

He will often do twice the work of a civilian, draw half the pay and still find ironic humor in it all. He has seen more suffering and death then he should have in his short lifetime.

He has stood atop mountains of dead bodies, and helped to create them.

He has wept in public and in private, for friends who have fallen in combat and is unashamed.

He feels every note of the National Anthem vibrate through his body while at rigid attention, while tempering the burning desire to 'square-away' those around him who haven't bothered to stand, remove their hat, or even stop talking. In an odd twist, day in and day out, far from home, he defends their right to be disrespectful.

Just as did his Father, Grandfather, and Great-grandfather, he is paying the price for our freedom.

Beardless or not, he is not a boy.

He is the American Fighting Man that has kept this country free for over 200 years.

He has asked nothing in return, except our friendship and understanding.

Remember him, always, for he has earned our respect and admiration with his blood.

posted by B. at 8:43 AM - Friday, March 28, 2003



Any Fourth of July celebration/festivity I’ve ever attended in my life (never mind how many that is!!) pale by comparison to the events held each 4th of July at the Camp LeJeune Marine Base. What makes that one so special, you ask? The United States Marine Corps, of course!!!

The one yesterday was somewhat more inconvenient to civilian visitors than previous years, but that was expected. The long lines of vehicles waiting for registration and license checks was something new; however, Marines at the gates were extremely polite and efficient and everything went smoothly. The fact that they were armed to the teeth may have facilitated admission too! That was also a first.

I have no idea how large the parade ground is. “Several football fields” comes to mind. Whatever the size, it was filled with spectators – estimated as “tens of thousands”. (Wild guess – maybe 50 – 60)

The Piece de Resistance, as always, was the Grand Finale. As the sun set, the Marine Corps Band began a fantastic concert. No toes could remain still! This segment was highlighted by The Marine Corps Hymn, with a moving recitation and re-enactment of the raising of the flag on Mount Suribachi. Every Marine, active and veteran, on the parade ground stood at attention. Military marches and classical selections concluded (perfectly timed with darkness) with the 1812 Overture. The cannons punctuating the Overture were real cannons, actually fired for the performance. These were lined up approximately half a football field away from spectators, so the fire from the ends of the cannons was clearly visible and the noise was deafening.

As the last notes of the 1812 Overture faded with the reverberations of cannons, again synchronized to the second, the fireworks exhibition began. The length and intensity of this display made “awesome” an inadequate adjective.

God Bless America!

posted by B. at 11:42 PM - Friday, July 05, 2002



In perusing the blogs to keep my finger on the pulse of Blogger World, I learned from Misha, the "Nice Doggie" man, that November is National Military Appreciation Month. Please visit this site and say "thank you" to our military, if you're appreciative.

Some of the commenters expressed uncertainties about how to handle a direct contact with military personnel. What would be appropriate? Rushing into the debate to get my two cents in, I posted the following:

Posted by Indigo at November 7, 2002 10:44 AM --
To hug or not to hug? Depends on who YOU are. A handshake may be more appropriate. I'm a grandmother and Saturday night before Mother's Day, I was treated to a lovely dinner at Outback. At the large round table next to ours were about 10 USMC Special Ops. Mean and lean and BEAUTIFUL. They had obviously just returned from the Afghan war zone and were enjoying a celebratory night out. After much toasting and congratulating each other, they settled in to enjoy a raucous and delicious meal. Our party ended before theirs did, and when I arose from the table, I took one step toward the Marines' table and announced: "If anyone will not be getting a Mother's Day hug tomorrow, here's your chance." As a unit, they jumped from their chairs and queued up!! Some of the biggest grins and tightest hugs I have ever received!!!



Close your eyes and picture in your mind the soldier at Valley Forge, as he holds his musket in his bloody hands.

He stands barefoot in the snow, starved from lack of food, wounded from months of battle, and emotionally scarred from the eternity away from his family surrounded by nothing but death and carnage of war.

He stands tough, with fire in his eyes and victory on his breath. He looks at us now in anger and disgust and tells us this...

I gave you a birthright of freedom born in the Constitution and now your children graduate too illiterate to read it. I fought in the snow barefoot to give you the freedom to vote and you stay at home because it rains. I left my family destitute to give you the freedom of speech and you remain silent on critical issues, because it might be bad for business. I orphaned my children to give you a government to serve you and it has stolen democracy from the people.

It's the soldier, not the reporter who gives you the freedom of the press. It's the soldier, not the poet who gives you the freedom of speech. It's the soldier, not the campus organizer who allows you to demonstrate. It's the soldier who salutes the flag, serves the flag, whose coffin is draped with the flag, that allows the protester to burn the flag!!!

"God, hold our troops in your loving hands. Protect them as they protect us. Bless them and their families for the selfless acts they perform for us in our time of need. Amen."

When you receive this, please stop for a moment and say a prayer for our U.S. ground troops in Afghanistan, and the ones facing deployment to Iraq at this very moment - and all over this world. Of all the gifts you could give a US Soldier, Prayer is the very best one.....

posted by B. at 12:29 PM - Sunday, December 22, 2002



This is the most inspiring "Christmas card" I have received this year -- perhaps ANY year. Please take a few minutes to link here and, hopefully, to the other links you will find. Don't miss the Home link. We all know the "reason for the season" but we may need a reminder of the reason we are free to celebrate it.

posted by B. at 1:19 PM - Friday, December 13, 2002



I am a small and precious child;
My dad's been sent to fight...
The only place I'll see his face
is in my dreams at night.
He will be gone too many days
for my young mind to keep track.
I may be sad, but I am proud.
My daddy's got your back.

I am a caring mother.
My son has gone to war...
My mind is filled with worries
that I have never known before.
Everyday I try to keep
my thoughts from turning black.
I may be scared, but I am proud.
My son has got your back.

I am a strong and loving wife,
with a husband soon to go.
There are times I'm terrified
in a way most never know.
I bite my lip, and force a smile
as I watch my husband pack...
My heart may break, but I am proud.
My husband's got your back...

I am a Military Man standing Proudly, standing Tall.
I fight for freedom, yours and mine,
by answering this call.
I do my job while knowing the thanks it
sometimes lacks.
Say a prayer that I'll come home. It's me
who's got your back.

posted by B. at 10:39 AM - Tuesday, March 25, 2003



A glorious day on the North Carolina Coast! Our Marines are landing!! They are unloading on Radio Island as I type. Radio Island is about 40 miles from Camp LeJeune and the Marines will be driven home on chartered busses. The highway bringing them home is named "Freedom Way" - which says it all. It says Highway 24 belongs to our heroes. It's their return route back to home and family every time they come back. The entire 40 miles is festooned with flags, yellow ribbons, patriotic signs affixed to telephone polls (These are permanent signs, purchased and maintained by local towns, that go up and down in conjunction with deployments.), and bed sheets. Yes. Bed sheets. A long time ago, some ingenious wife hit on the idea of painting a special "love and welcome home to (fill in rank and name)" on a sheet and attaching it to the chain link fence that runs along Highway 24 for many miles. It seems to be a tradition now. The sheet graffiti covers every possible welcome message. The most touching are from the children. "Welcome Home, Daddy. We love you." The closer the busses get to Camp LeJeune, the closer together the sheets hang on the fence. The linen sections of local department stores flourish, I'm sure, because literally hundreds of hand-painted sheets are up by homecoming day. Even the sun came out in all its brilliance today, after many days of rain, to welcome our wonderful guys and gals back to the Crystal Coast of North Carolina.

The pride and love for the United States Marine Corps and Navy is unabashedly displayed here by family and civilian residents. And we're all so happy they're back. Thanks to all our military personnel for a job well done.

posted by B. at 12:03 PM - Sunday, June 22, 2003


Saturday, July 05, 2003

The beautiful, blue Carolina sky dawned July 4th with just enough fluffy clouds in the sky to appear to be faces smiling down on the spectacular coast of North Carolina -- home of Camp Lejeune and the United States Marines and Sailors. What a perfect and well-deserved welcome home to military personnel who have been returning for the last several days.

The annual affair is always family-oriented, but this year it was more so. It was Family Reunion day. Children kept touching their daddies, as if to hold on to them and not let them get away again. Last year the crowd was impressive. I had never seen so many people together at one place, other than at a football game. This year it was astounding and outstanding in the palpable love among the people - military and civilian. A real emotion-charged day for all.

A FDNY engine and more than 100 New York firemen were present. The Assistant Fire Chief ceremoniously presented an I-beam from the wreckage of the World Trade Center to Camp Lejeune for a permanent memorial. He said that Camp Lejeune and NYC would be the only places where WTC wreckage would become part of a memorial for New York City Firemen and Camp Lejeune Marines. He shared a moving personal vignette telling that a large percentage of NY City Firemen were previous Marines. And of those, a large number had been stationed at Camp Lejeune, including himself in 1963.

A preview was published July 3 on The Globe site which was quite accurate, other than emphasizing the tremendous size of the assemblage.

"Pulled from the wreckage of the World Trade Center, an I-beam recently began its journey through six states to the base from Manhattan. New York City Fire Department chaplain blessed the beam and more than 100 New York firefighters are accompanying it. The department is presenting the 9-11 “icon” to the Marine Corps Base and II Marine Expeditionary Force commanding generals during scheduled July 4th celebrations Friday at W.P.T. Hill Field."

Watching the five Marines re-enacting the raising of the flag on Iwo Jima, I thought how proud they must be. To be chosen as stand-ins for those heroic and famous Marines on Mount Surabachi will be something to tell for the rest of their lives. Plenty of bragging rights there. The Marine Band Concert was highlighted again this year by the 1812 Overture, accompanied by live cannon fire, culminating with the fireworks exhibition.

God Bless America!

posted by B. at 10:51 PM - July 5, 2003


Dear Civilians,

We know that the current state of affairs in our great nation have many civilians up in arms and excited to join the military. For those of you who can't join, you can still lend a hand. Here are a few of the areas where we would like your assistance:

(1) The next time you see an adult talking (or wearing a hat) during the playing of the National Anthem---kick their ass.

(2) When you witness, firsthand, someone burning the American Flag in protest---kick their ass.

(3) Regardless of the rank they held while they served, pay the highest amount of respect to all veterans. If you see anyone doing otherwise, quietly pull them aside and explain how these veterans fought for the very freedom they bask in every second. Enlighten! them on the many sacrifices these veterans made to make this Nation great. Then hold them down while a disabled veteran kicks their ass.

(4) (GUYS) If you were never in the military, DO NOT pretend that you were. Wearing battle dress uniforms (BDUs), telling others that you used to be "Special Forces," and collecting GI Joe memorabilia, might have been okay when you were seven years old. Now, it will only make you look stupid and get your ass kicked.

(5) Next time you come across an Air Force member, do not ask them, "Do you fly a jet?" Not everyone in the Air Force is a pilot. Such ignorance deserves an ass-kicking (children are exempt).

(6) If you witness someone calling the US Coast Guard 'non-military', inform them of their mistake---and kick their ass.

(7) Next time Old Glory (the US flag) prances by during a parade, get on your damn feet and pay homage to her by placing your hand over your heart. Quietly thank the military member or veteran lucky enough to be carrying her---of course, failure to do either of those could earn you a severe ass-kicking.

(8) Don't try to discuss politics with a military member or a veteran.. We are Americans, and we all bleed the same, regardless of our party affiliation. Our Chain of Command is to include our Commander-In-Chief (CinC). The President (for those who didn't know) is our CinC regardless of political party. We have no inside track on what happens inside those big important buildings where all those representatives meet. All we know is that when those civilian representatives screw up the situation, they call upon the military to go straighten it out. If you keep asking us the same stupid questions repeatedly, you will get your ass kicked!

(9) 'Your mama wears combat boots' never made sense to me---stop saying it! If she did, she would most likely be a vet and therefore, could kick your ass!

(10) Bin Laden and the Taliban are not Communists, so stop saying 'Let's go kill those Commies!' And stop asking us where he is! Crystal balls are not standard issue in the military. That reminds me---if you see anyone calling those damn psychic phone numbers, let me know, so I can go kick their ass.

(11) 'Flyboy' (Air Force), 'Jarhead' (Marines), 'Grunt' (Army), 'Squid' (Navy), 'Puddle Jumpers' (Coast Guard), etc., are terms of endearment we use describing each other. Unless you are a service member or vet, you have not earned the right to use them. That could get your ass kicked.

(12) Last, but not least, whether or not you become a member of the military, support our troops and their families. Every Thanksgiving and religious holiday that you enjoy with family and friends, please remember that there are literally thousands of sailors and troops far from home wishing they could be with their families. Thank God for our military and the sacrifices they make every day. Without them, our country would get its ass kicked."

"It is the soldier, not the reporter who has given us the freedom of the press.

"It is the soldier, not the poet, who has given us the freedom of speech.

"It is the soldier, not the campus organizer, who gives us the freedom to demonstrate.

"It is the soldier who salutes the flag, who serves beneath the flag, and whose coffin is draped by the flag, who allows the protester to burn the flag."

(Please pass this on so I won't have to kick your ass!) :-)

"If you can read this, thank a teacher"
"If you are reading it in English, thank a veteran."

[Thanks to James & Lisa Shelbourne of Jonesville, VA - November 10, 2004]