I heard a crash outside my bedroom last night. I was annoyed but I wasn’t frightened. I knew with utter certainty that the noise wasn’t some terrorist ratbag breaking in to take my food. I knew that it wasn’t the military come to drag me off to serve in a camp somewhere. I knew that if it did turn out to be a meth head looking to rob me for his next high that I had the means to defend myself. I knew all of these things because people like LCPL Noah Pier have defended me from them and defended my right to keep and bear arms.
People join the military for all kinds of reasons. Money for college, job training, deference from jail and family tradition; all good reasons. Some men though join because they were always meant to be in the military. From earliest childhood they were the ones that no one wanted to “play war” with because they were serious about it and, usually, good at it. They would mess you up with a well thrown clump of dirt. Brothers for these kind of people often end up being recruits in mock training camps.
It is a dedication to the very idea of serving ones country from birth. It is staying up extra late any night that your parents will let you in order to listen to the National Anthem as the local television station goes off of the air. It is standing at attention as the music plays when you think no one is looking. It is an eight year old sneaking a salute to our flag as you pass by. It is being the loudest one in class when we all stood and placed our hands over our hearts to say the Pledge of Allegiance (back when we were allowed to do that anyway).
Once those people make it into the military they are home. They stand with their brothers and sisters daily and are oh so proud to wear the uniform. If you ask them why they serve they will look at you as if you are daft and say, “Because I am an American.” There is no difference for them. It is a one to one relationship. They serve their country because their country is a part of the very core of their being.
Today we bring one of those men home. LCPL Noah Pier, USMC was killed in Afghanistan last week. You can find the local newspaper article by clicking here.
I didn’t know Pier personally but I’ve stood beside hundreds of others like him. I was proud to serve with soldiers like that, to learn from them.
Today is not Memorial day nor is it Veterans day for the rest of us but for his family, today will always be those days. Stand with me this morning, say a short prayer for his family and say goodbye to a man that spent his life keeping you safe at night.
Semper Fi Marine.
UPDATE: more of this marines story can be found here: Cedar Posts and Barbwire Fences: United States Marine Noah M. Pier of Charlotte Killed in Action Tuesday in Afghanistan