“Having gratitude and not expressing it, is like wrapping a present and not giving it.”
-William Arthur Ward
Since I began writing “Lynn’s Spin,” I have chosen to share my family’s experience in hosting U.S. Marines at our home during various holidays, as a small token of thanks to those who serve our country and can’t be home with their own families for the holidays.
Thanksgiving seems to be the most apropos occasion; after all, because of those who have served our country throughout history, and who volunteer to serve today, we have much for which to be thankful, particularly here in Newport Beach.
An acquaintance asked me recently, of all the subjects I choose to write about in my columns, why supporting the 1/1 Marines has been one I write about with some regularity. I replied that I believe they deserve all the positive ink they get, and feel obligated in my own way to bring to mind the men and women who volunteer to serve our country and defend our freedoms, which are our greatest blessings.
I also do it in remembrance of my late brother who was a proud Marine, and to honor my other family members who have served. Virtually all of us have at least one person in our family who has selflessly served this country at one point or another, making the gesture even more relevant.
The reality is that while inviting a service member to share one of our great American traditions offers them an opportunity to enjoy the warmth and comfort of the day away from the base, I feel we as hosts are the ones who benefit most by their visit.
Friend Deirdre Michalski and her family have made inviting Marines part of their annual tradition.
“For the past few years we have invited a couple of Marines to come join our family for dinner and football, and we have so much fun,” says Deirdre. “They are such a nice group of young people, from all over the country and since we have college kids in our family, they all enjoy talking and hanging out together. I love to cook them a hearty dinner, saying thank you for their service, and spoiling them rotten!”
“Many of the Marines don’t have the opportunity to go home for Thanksgiving and this gives them the chance to enjoy a meal in a family setting that can’t be duplicated in the dining facility on base,” says Rick Andersen, 1/1 Family Readiness Officer.
No matter what your political or religious beliefs, sharing a table with someone who serves this country anonymously on our behalf each and every day, as we go about our merry way enjoying the benefits derived, almost feels like a prerequisite when considering the bounty we reap.
As this Thanksgiving approaches, the message seems to be resonating because I have received more inquiries than ever from people wanting to host a Marine or a Marine family in their home this year. Even in these tough economic times, perhaps despite them, it is great to know there are those still willing to reach out in this way. No matter how extravagant or modest the celebration, it is the simplicity of the gesture that is most appreciated.
In 2003, the City of Newport Beach “adopted” the 1st Battalion, 1st Marines (1/1) to assist the Marines and their families. The 1st Battalion, 1st Marines is one of the most decorated and distinguished units in the Marine Corps, and has played a major role in some of the most important military campaigns throughout our nation’s history. Its motto “Ready to Fight” not only reflects 1/1’s ability to respond to any crisis on short notice, but also its eagerness to support and defend the rights and freedoms of every American.
If you would like to host a 1/1 Marine or Marine Family for Thanksgiving, contact Rick Andersen, 1/1 Family Readiness Officer by either phone or email with your name, address, email and phone number, as well as how many Marines you are requesting and whether you are able to provide transportation. (Not all Marines have a car on base, but usually they can be matched up with another Marine with a vehicle.) He can be reached at 760-429-3514 or [email protected].
Andersen asked me to convey how much it means to the 1/1 to receive these invitations and to please be patient as they match everyone up and coordinate the visits. He tells me there is also an opportunity to host Marines who have become members of the Wounded Warrior Battalion-West, also stationed at Camp Pendleton by contacting Wounded Warrior Battalion Family Readiness Officer Melinda Wilette at 760-429-8606.
Don’t miss this opportunity to give back to those who serve our country and celebrate Thanksgiving in a whole new and special way – it is an experience you and yours will truly never forget.