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Feb 18, 2016

Shoveling with a Marine

A few weeks ago our town got another big snow dump. My husband was still recovering from pneumonia, was going to school and working full time and we had the audacious responsibility of clearing a huge turnaround driveway with shovels. ...and let me tell you a secret... our town usually gets 2-3 feet of snow every year.  ...  Yep, my husband and I have worked on some big shoveling muscles.
I strapped on my big girl panties and my 1 1/2 year old into my wrap and set my mind to getting that driveway cleared before my hubby got home from work. My three year old boy followed my lead and "revved up his shovel-bulldozer".
A man rode by on his bike through the snow. I waved at him and I must have looked like I needed help because he turned around and asked me If I could use an extra hand. I sized him up, a little nervous to interact with a strange man. His eyes told me he was trustworthy. His oxygen suppressant mask and clothing told me he was training for some crazy triathlon. We didn't speak, as our heavy breathing and passing cars made it hard to hear.

I have never seen a person move so much snow so fast. Feeling his energy, and not to be totally left behind, I thrust in my shovel a little faster and deeper. As our shovels scraped in together across the cement a feeling came over me that I did not understand at first. It was familiar and warm; with a peace and fortitude that seemed to expand the ages of time. There was something I needed to understand here and I really thought about it.

I later learned I shoveled snow with a Marine.

The Marine motto is "Semper Fidelis". Meaning Always Faithful. Marines are always faithful to each other, but it is more than that. On the Marine Heritage page the first thing that draws your attention is an expanse of planted Marines upholding a football field sized American Flag. The picture reads:

"The Land That We Love". 

They uphold, and are always faithful to the people and the values of the land of the free, and the home of the brave.

It dawned on me why I felt such a connection to him. Being able to do his job was contingent on weather or not I was doing mine as mother and wife. Was I passing on values of liberty, honor, virtue, work, perseverance, service, love? If we do not pass on these gems of liberty and harmony to our children, then what do our Marines protect? 

If our country were compared to a treasure box... the armed forces would be the walls. The values embodied in the people are like the item of worth. Nothing is more valuable to mankind than the values that promote liberty and human happiness.

In 20 years... in 50 years, will our box be empty or full? Will our children not only shed a tear when the flag passes at a parade, but know how important these values are because we planted them in their hearts? Are we telling our Nation's story by living it? Are we helping our children live it along side us?

Mothers and Fathers, as I have seen these values slipping I would like to rouse a call to duty. A call to the home-front so our soldiers can keep this treasure to be proud of. Our battle is against ideals that create selfishness, and endless distractions in a prosperous age. Arrange your lives so that work, play and other distractions are second to growing and protecting faith and family. If we are not engaged, how do we know our children are learning what is important?

 Sempre Fidelis

With each shovel full there was no grand music, no person who knew who he was... only a fierce and quiet commitment to sacrifice for the good of the American people. When we parent, no one sees what happens behind our walls as we continue to "shovel" out dirty diapers and wear our bodies into the ground for our kids. Can we learn from the quiet dignity of a Marine? Are your values and family second to none? Do it because with every shovel full, or diaper full, we teach and build excellence of character in our selves and our children. This sacrifice is something we share with all those who understand what it is to give everything for the greater good and the future.

It makes us Mothers and Fathers
and Marines...

It makes us American.

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