Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The Most Important Oath In My Life

The floor was cold. I remember thinking that as I stood nearly naked with about 20 other guys all lined up along the wall in a large room. Two men, both wearing white coats stopped in front of each of us. The first man was much older than the other. They both had the personality of an undertaker.

Over the course of the next few minutes he poked, prodded, and made me turn my head and cough. His hands were freaking cold. I have never been in such an uncomfortable position...I mean I didn't even know this guys name. {if you are out there...call me :eye lid flutter:..}. They looked over every inch of my body writing everything on a clipboard.

The final insult is when he asked us all to face the wall, drop our skivvies and bend over. This is not exactly something I expected. I now know what cattle feel like.

The rest of the day was filled with more of the same. Some person in a uniform or white coat would ask questions...poke something..then move on. The only time I felt like someone was actually talking to me was when I went in to see the Psychologist. She..a Marine Major..was not interested in dating...she wanted to know all about me...and that would be the end of that relationship. {if you are out there...call me :eye lid flutter: }

She asked several questions, but the one that caused me to pause was, "Have you ever killed anyone?" What!? I am only 17 for Christ sake. I paused so long...she actually looked up at me. I quickly replied, "Uh..no?" I mean how could I be sure...I did a lot of hunting in the woods...its possible that at some time a stray round may have killed someone. Man, I really did get the guilts then...there could be some guy...dead in the woods near my house. Sorry if I killed you.

"Are you sure?", she said. I think she may have actually smiled...but she was a scary Marine Major.

"Yeah", I said. Hey they couldn't pin it on me..but just to be sure I vowed to take a quick look around the woods when I got home.

The last thing for the day was to sign some more papers...and sit in a room along with 20 other people that did not look like the guy in the room earlier. I wonder what happened to those guys? Was it possible they were all killers and the lady Marine had them hauled off to jail?

While I was pondering the fate of the other guys, the door to the room popped open and a very loud guy said "Stand!" He didn't use the magic word Please. I would learn that the word "Please" was seldom used as intended.

In walked a U.S. Army Colonel. Full bird and those Eagles were shining. He explained very briefly what we would be doing...then it happened.

I raised my right hand and looked at the Colonel..and at the American Flag and said after him...

"I do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God."

I had not before or at anytime since taken an Oath that has meant so much to me. It has been and will always be something precious. I was promising my country...with God as my witness... that I would protect her....from that day forward. My Service ends when I do.

It causes the Captain to get a bit misty eyed when I think of the millions of others who have taken that oath. It fills me with great pride to have served with the men and women who respected that Oath.

I pulled out the Flag that I was given on the day I retired...and reaffirmed that oath today. It was a quiet ceremony from my heart to my country. She has never asked more than I was willing to give.

Salute guys...I'm gonna go wash my face now.

1 comment:

  1. Aye Aye Sir..... I also signed on for the duration. Have even been told they have my guard assignment set when I check in with Gunny St Paul. Hope they will be forgiving that my Blues are a bit too tight.