A "Must Read" Thread

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Frank Zimkas, Jan 28, 2003.

  1. Frank Zimkas

    Frank Zimkas Supporting Actor

    Mar 10, 2002
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    A friend of my Dad sent this to him and he forwarded it to me.
    As a former Marine this means a great deal to me, I hope you take the time to read it and let it soak in a bit.

    Semper Fi

    Here's to the Marines of MALS 39 and ALL Servicemen
    > everywhere............... Please read on.
    > Subject:
    > Not Playing for the Super Bowl -
    > Super Bowl battle is dwarfed by what band of brothers faces San
    > Diego
    > Post-Dispatch 01/22/2003 Sports Columnist Bryan Burwell
    > SAN DIEGO - It was just around midnight Tuesday night, and the
    > outdoor
    > courtyard at Dick's Last Resort was throbbing with the rowdy energy
    > of
    > a spring break bacchanal. There was loud rock music blaring out of
    > the
    > stereo speakers, and the air was filled with the distinct and
    > somewhat
    > revolting aroma of deep-fried bar food, cigarette smoke and spilled
    > beer.
    > Dick's is the sort of bar-restaurant ideally suited for Super Bowl
    > week mischief, because it has a down-and-dirty roadhouse feel to it.
    > The waiters, waitresses and bartenders are charmingly rude, and
    > the
    > wood floors are covered with sand and all sorts of indistinguishable
    > debris. The clientele on this evening is a fascinating mix of
    > twenty-something college kids, thirty-something conventioneers and
    > 40-something Super Bowl high-rollers.
    > Yet there was one table in Dick's courtyard Tuesday night that was
    > noticeably different from the others. There were six young men at
    > the
    > table and one young woman, and while they were drinking like
    > everyone
    > else in the room, there was something all too serious going on at
    > this
    > table that let you know that their thoughts were a long way from the
    > mindless frivolity of Super Bowl week.
    > Maybe it was the close-cropped "barracks haircuts" that gave them
    > away. All the men's heads were cut in that familiar look of a
    > professional soldier, skin-close on the sides, and on top a tight
    > shock of hair that resembled new shoe-brush bristles.
    > "We're Marines," one man told me. "And tomorrow we're boarding a
    > ship
    > for . . . well . . . I really can't tell you where, but you know."
    > Of course we knew. In less than an hour, they would report back to
    > a
    > ship docked along the Southern California coast, then on
    > Wednesday
    > head across the Pacific Ocean, bound for a potential war in Iraq. So
    > this was no Super Bowl party for them. This was their last night out
    > on the town. One Marine was saying goodbye to his wife. The others
    > were not so lucky. They all just sat around the table, throwing back
    > beers and wrestling with the sobering uncertainty of the rest of their
    > lives.
    > "We're going to war and none of us knows if we're ever coming
    > back,"
    > said another Marine, a 28-year-old from Southern Illinois. They all
    > requested that I not use their names. "Just tell 'em we're the men of
    > (Marine Aviation Land Support Squad 39)," they said.
    > On Super Bowl Sunday, the men of MALS 39 will be watching the
    > game
    > from the mess hall of their ship. "That is, if we're lucky and the
    > weather is good and it doesn't interfere with the satellite signal,"
    > said the Marine with the bald head and burnt-orange shirt. "But I
    > gotta tell you, I'm not that big a sports fan anymore. It's going to
    > be the first pro football game I've watched in . . . I can't even
    > remember."
    > Why is that?
    > "Well, here's my problem with pro sports today," he said. "I don't
    > care whether it's football, basketball or baseball. Guys are
    > complaining about making $6 million instead of $7 million, and what
    > is
    > their job? Playing a damned game. You know what I made last
    > year? I
    > made $14,000. They pay me $14,000, and you know what my job
    > description is? I'm paid to take a bullet."
    > When he said those words, it positively staggered me.
    > Fourteen thousand dollars to take a bullet.
    > Not a day goes by that I am not reminded of what a wonderful life I
    > lead. I am paid to write about sports and tell stories on radio and
    > television about the games people play. But sometimes, even in the
    > midst of a grand sporting event, something happens to put the
    > frivolity of sports into its proper perspective, and this was it.
    > Fourteen thousand dollars to take a bullet.
    > As I sit here writing from my hotel room, I can look out my balcony
    > window and I see a Navy battleship cutting through the San Diego
    > Bay,
    > heading out to sea. I can see the sailors standing on the deck as the
    > ship sails past Coronado Island, the San Diego Marina and the
    > downtown
    > Seaport Village, and I wonder if any of the men from MALS 39 are
    > aboard.
    > It was only 12 hours ago that I was sitting at the table with my guys,
    > buying them beers, and listening to their soldier stories. The Marine
    > from Southern Illinois who sat to my right pointed to the bald Marine
    > in the orange shirt who was seated to my left. "You know, I don't
    > even
    > know this guy, can you believe that? We just met a few hours ago
    > when
    > we came into Dick's. Oh, I've seen him on the base, but I've never
    > met
    > him before tonight. But here's what's so special about that man, and
    > why I love that man. He's my brother. Semper Fi. I know a guy back
    > home, and he is my best friend. I'm 28 years old and we've known
    > each
    > other all our lives. But today, that friend is more of a stranger to
    > me than that Marine sitting over there, who I've never met before
    > tonight. That's why they call it a Band of Brothers."
    > The little Marine in the orange shirt lifted his glass toward the
    > Marine from Southern Illinois and nodded his head. "That's right," he
    > said. "That's my brother over there, and I'm gonna take a bullet for
    > him if I have to." He said it with a calm and jolting certainty. There
    > was a moving, but chilling, pride in his words.
    > All around them, people were drinking, shouting and laughing. The
    > college kids and the conventioneers and NFL high-rollers were living
    > the good, carefree life. Across the street, a storefront that was
    > vacant two weeks ago was now filled with $30 caps, $400 leather
    > jackets, $40 mugs and $27 T-shirts with the fancy blue and yellow
    > Super Bowl XXXVII logo embroidered on it.
    > From every end of the streets of downtown San Diego's fabled
    > Gaslamp
    > Quarter, Super Bowl revelers toasted the Raiders and the
    > Bucanneers
    > with grog-sized mugs filled with beers and rums. But just around
    > midnight in the middle of the courtyard of Dick's Last Resort, a far
    > more deserving toast was going up to the men of MALS 39. We
    > clicked
    > our glasses together, and a few minutes later, they quietly slipped
    > out the courtyard gates.
    > Suddenly, the Super Bowl didn't seem so important anymore.
  2. John Watson

    John Watson Screenwriter

    Jul 14, 2002
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    The Romans called it "Bread and Circuses"[​IMG]

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