When the chartered civilian plane carrying one hundred or so Marines from the 3/3 touched down in Kaneohe Bay, it was only an hour and a half late, but nobody really minded. The average age–considerably raised by me and a few other grey-haired parents–had to be below twenty-five, and everybody was bigtime excited.
The Marines had flown from Iraq to Kuwait, across Asia, refueled in Guam, and then to Oahu. The band was playing “pretty little woman,” which seemed about right for a bunch of young men who had not had social interface with a woman in more than seven months. The first dozen or so Marines off the plane ran across the red carpet to see their babies for the first time. In short order tears were as common as cheers.
It’s a scene that’s reenacted with some frequency in this country at this time, but it is not broadcast, and rarely reported. It’s quite a scene. And we owe these kids a big debt, which we are not eager to repay. Don’t you think that the G.I. Bill should guarantee four years of higher education to every returning vet? It doesn’t; it pays less than twenty thousand dollars a year for three years, if I have the numbers right. Maybe Senator McCain would like to make such repayment of our debt to our soldiers and marines part of his campaign?