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A Veterans Day Reflection

Gary Morella

Every day I try to go walking at the Boalsburg PA Military Museum and Shrine, dedicated to the memory of those Pennsylvanians who fought and died for the 28th Army Division in our Nation's wars. The Shrine is in a beautiful peaceful setting, especially this time of year with the trees in color, in a valley surrounded by two mountain chains, Mount Nittany, and Tussey Mountain. It is a favorite place of mine.

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The glory of the United States comes from the effort
of each of our Veterans
This morning, November 10, was a very cold, overcast gray day with a slight drizzle, and threatening dark clouds. When I started walking, I noticed that there was no one else on the 1/2 mile loop on the Shrine grounds but a lonely figure about 100 yards in front of me walking very slowly. As I closed on the figure, I noticed that it was a man wearing a full dress Marine Corps blue uniform with white gloves, walking at a very slow parade pace, and stopping to salute at all of the major monuments. When I saw this it was like the darkness passed over, and the entire shrine was lit up with the sunlight of what this man was doing. I'm not ashamed to say that some tears came to my eyes.

I caught up with him, and found out that he was a retired Marine Sergeant, with a chest full of ribbons, who told me that he had to do this because today is the birthday of the Marine Corps, and tomorrow is Veterans' Day. I shook his hand, and thanked him for his service. I then talked to him about my late uncles Joe and Isadore who were in the 4th and 5th Marine Divisions on Iwo Jima, my uncle Izzy being shot up so bad that he spent a good portion of the rest of his life in and out of Veterans' hospitals. I told him that I was a Vietnam Era Navy veteran, and really appreciated what he was doing. He thanked me, and as I walked away, I said Semper Fi, and God bless you!

If you happen to run into a member of the military active or a veteran, please take the time to let them know that you appreciate their putting their lives on the line for you. It's just a little thing, but I can tell you that it means a lot to them.

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Boalsburg PA Military Museum and Shrine

Posted November 11, 2007

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