Getting the News

A gut punch. That’s what it feels like. A very powerful gut punch. The kind that knocks you off your feet and doesn’t let you breathe. 31 Marines dead. That’s what the news says. I hear it as 31 of my brothers dead.

I’ve never met them. At least I don’t think so. I’ll have to read the list of names when they’re released to be sure. They are still my brothers, whether I ever met them or not. I know that doesn’t make sense, and I can’t really explain it. Since when did human emotions ever make sense anyway?

They’re my brothers. I feel that. I feel the lost of that. I am a Marine, and so are they. Once a Marine, always a Marine. We may not have shared blood, but we did share the title Marine, and pride in being able to call ourselves by that title. We shared an understanding of what it is to be a Marine. We shared a love of Country, and of Corps. My Corps, your Corps, Marine Corps. We all bleed Marine Corps green. That’s what we were told. We were also told Marines never cry, but the tears on my cheeks show that for a lie.

When The Towers fell, I felt pain and grief like everyone else. Same for the Pentagon and Pennsylvania deaths. But it wasn’t. . . personal. I didn’t know any of them. I didn’t know these Marines either, but somehow this is personal. The first deaths of this War were Marines. That was personal. It just is when it’s Marines. Again, I can’t explain it. I just know it. Feel it.

A few moths ago a fallen Marine was buried in his home town, where my mom and step father live. While I was up there visiting them, I said I was going to stop by the cemetery and visit his grave. My step father asked if I knew the Marine. I answered “No.” Before I said anything else my mom answered the same way I would have. “He was a Marine.” Nuff said. At the grave I couldn’t help smiling a little at the large Harley Davidson themed flower arrangement. I thought of my friends who loved their motorcycles. My friends who were back over in Iraq for a second tour. I prayed I wouldn’t have to stand at any of their graves.

A gut punch. That’s what it feels like to get the news. That’s what it feels like to lose my brothers.

Getting the News

Jennifer Stephens

Salt Lake City, United States

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