Native Writes
Posted: Friday, May 2nd, 2008
BY: Sylvia Lobato

Semper Fi

I have been accused of having a soft spot in my heart for Marines. I plead guilty as charged.

If I learn that you are a Marine, I will shake your hand, thank you for all you are and all you’ve done and, maybe, give you a hug.

From many conversations with many Marines, I know the job isn’t an easy one.

This weekend, some 200 members of the Marine Corps League will gather in Alamosa for their annual convention. This means a group of very special persons will experience the San Luis Valley.

Not only will they join together to preserve the traditions and promote the interests of the United States Marine Corps, but they also will have a chance to look around.

Will we be proud of what they see?

Welcome to Alamosa.

Our local Marine Corps League detachment was founded in the 1980s and boasts the founding of a still active POW-MIA awareness committee, cooperation in kids’ events, a scholarship program, veteran’s awareness activities and a vital recruitment effort.

Don’t be surprised if I hand you an application for membership.

A woman Marine, Patricia Cooper, is the SLV Detachment Commandant and the membership includes people from all walks of life.

Still, being a Marine is what it’s all about.

John A. Lejeune, who founded the Marine Corps League in 1923, put it above everything else. Although he was a Major General and Commandant of the Marine Corps, a decorated hero of the World War I and commanding general of the victorious Second Army Division, he emphasized that his importance was, “I am a Marine!”

A common trait of Marines is the spirit of Semper Fidelis, of being “always faithful” to the Country, the Corps and to their fellow Marines, wherever they may be.

Long after they have hung up the uniform for the last time, most still call each other “Marine.” The slogan, “Once a Marine, Always a Marine” is held as a personal truth.

I have been reminded more than once that there are no “former” Marines and no “ex Marines.”

If there is no other reason Marines hold a hallowed place in my heart, it is their loyalty, fidelity and sense of identity.

The Marine Corps League continues the traditions and spirit of all who proudly wear or who have worn the eagle, globe and anchor of the USMC.

It also includes auxiliary and associate members who were not Marines, but who have served with, lived with and loved Marines and who continue to support all of them in every possible way.

The League is the only Federally Chartered Marine Corps-related veterans’ organization in the nation and, since its founding, it has boasted the support and encouragement of all active duty and reserve establishments of the USMC.

Most of us know the words to the Marine Corps hymn - can we say the same of those sung by the other branches of the service?

“If the Army and the Navy ever look on Heaven’s scene, they will find the streets are guarded by United States Marines...”

Sgt. Maj. Lyle “Bing” Eagan, Cpl. Randy Rosacker and all the other Marines who are guarding the Pearly Gates, I’m looking forward to seeing you there.

Semper Fi.