Tuesday, May 13, 2008
Quantico Marine Corps Base is home of the Officer Candidate School my husband attended back when the Viet Nam War still raged.
With an eight-hour drive ahead of us, if all goes perfectly, we'll be in Virginia at 1500 today.
On Thursday, my husband will join hundreds of former Marines for the 41st reunion of those who graduated from Officer Candidate School at Quantico Marine Corp Base. Most haven't communicated, let alone seen each other, since 1967.
Email has been flying for nearly a year as the committee worked to make the reunion possible. And now with the event schedule in hand, we're off.
Only it's not called a schedule. It's a sit rep. Actually, Sit Rep it says on the top sheet.
"A situation report," Bruce says.
The three-day agenda is printed in military time. That's as bad as the metric system. So I draw myself a normal clock, and jot the military hours beside the numbers on the normal person's clock. I will need this crib sheet, I'm sure. Events are tightly scheduled, most on the hour or half-hour, but some at 5-minute intervals.
This explains a lot. My husband tells time to the minute, and insists on being early. I don't wear a watch, I tell time to the "ish," and anything less than fifteen minutes isn't late.
From the hotel, buses will take the Marines and spouses an hour north to Washington, DC where we'll visit The Wall, but all other events will be by POV.
"Privately owned vehicles," Bruce says.
That would be a car in normal person's language.
The sit rep gives 10 minutes to "load the buses."
"Load the buses with what?" I ask.
"Us," Bruce says.
Marines don't board buses; they load them.
Then we're given 15 minutes to depart the hotel.
Marines don't leave; they depart.
I'd never have made it in the Marine Corp Bruce has told me more than once and somewhat irritably. I wouldn't navigate in the proper direction. I'd get lefts and rights reversed, let alone coordinate points. But worse, I'd question the reason for my orders, and would try to suggest a better way to my superiors. As you might imagine, this is not good Marine behavior, and not always welcome in a marriage either.
This I know, though, that these men share a bond I only understand mentally. They feel it in their gut, in every fiber of their being, in their hearts that still, and always will, beat with pride at having served in the Marine Corps. It will be my pleasure to see Quantico through their eyes and hear the memories they've held for so long.
Courage is endurance for one moment more.~Unknown Marine Second Lieutenant in Vietnam