(This article appeared in the March 17, 2000 issue of the
Observation Post, the base newspaper for Twentynine Palms,
1srLt Jason D. Grose
7th Marines Adjutant
Last Wednesday, my wife and I attended the Battle Colors
Ceremony performed by the Marines from Eighth and I. It had
been many years since we had seen them, and we looked forward
to seeing the spectacular event.
Scanning the crowd, I saw Marines, retirees, and even school
children anxiously awaiting the beginning of the show. Finally
spotting my wife, I walked toward her, and, as many Marines
often experience in similar circumstances, I practically had
to bump into her for her to see me in the crowd of cammies.
Not even a glint of recognition filled her eyes until I reached
out and grabbed her arm.
Joining her was a friend, Suzette, who was new to the Marine
Corps family and had recently moved here to be near "her Marine."
Other than on television, she had never seen the show she was
about see. I knew this was going to be a memorable event for
her and looked forward to her reactions to the world-famous
Her first exposure to the way Marines do things was evident
when we approached two lines of uniformed Marines designated
as ushers for the event. "Ma'am, if you will allow me to escort
you to your seat," was the young Marine's greeting as he offered
his bended arm. To Marines, this is standard practice but to
someone new to our lifestyle, this treatment was as unexpected
as it is now embedded in her memory forever.
As she looked on in amazement, the Drum and Bugle Corps
took the field and played in incredible fashion. Song after
song, this collection of red-clad musicians played, marched,
and presented their music to the crowd.
Then the most amazing thing happened. The threatening weather
finally broke and rain fell from the skies. Feeling lucky that
I was under the canopy, I looked at the continuing performance
with new eyes. Despite the cold, driving rain, the band played
on. Seemingly to spite the weather, the buglers belted out their
tunes with renewed vigor. The drummers beat their drums defiantly
and never missed a beat. They were wet and likely miserable
but they still "attacked their mission" like Marines have done
Near the end of the performance, the formation marched away
from us and formed online. A power was building, and as the
last of the performers came on line to the rising music, there
came a dramatic pause as the crowd held its breath and the band
performed an about-face. With raw spirit, they all hit the notes
of the famous Stars and Stripes march as they held their instruments
high and strutted in unison toward the crowd. If anyone's skin
did not explode with goosebumps at that moment, they were either
deaf or lacked a soul.
Looking over to see Suzette's reaction, all she could say
was simply "That is the most incredible thing I have ever seen."
Once again, the Commandant's Own left a mark in someone's life.
The lesson I think I took from this event was that despite
the ribbing the Marine Band gets from "combat Marines," I would
challenge anyone to compare the level of quality when performing
their day-to-day duties with that of the band. I think this
is something we can all strive for.