“Having gratitude and not expressing it, is like wrapping a present and not giving it.”
-William Arthur Ward
Fall along the coast is such a beautiful time of year. Daylight savings rolls back, the Halloween pumpkins are put away for another year and Thanksgiving is only a few weeks away.
Ever since I began writing “Lynn’s Spin” a few years ago, I have chosen to share our family’s experience in hosting U.S. Marines at our home during various holidays. We do so as a small token of thanks to those who serve our country and can’t be home with their own families for the holidays. It gives them a chance to enjoy a meal in a family setting that can’t be duplicated in the dining facility on base.
We also do it in remembrance of my late brother who was a proud Marine, and to honor other family members who have served. Virtually all of us have at least one friend or relative who has selflessly served this country at one point or another, making the gesture of hosting a service member during the holidays even more relevant.
Thanksgiving seems to be the most apropos occasion. After all, thanks to those who have served our country throughout history, and who volunteer to serve our country and defend our greatest blessing – freedom – we have much for which to be thankful, particularly here in our beautiful Newport Beach.
The reality is, while inviting a service member to share with us 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.
In 2003, the City of Newport Beach “adopted” the 1st Battalion, 1st Marines (1/1) to assist the Marines and their families, especially in these tough economic times. 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.
Some of the 1/1 Marines have just returned from deployment in Afghanistan, but many will not be home until sometime after the New Year. Sadly, the numbers of men and women who return with life-changing injuries are growing, necessitating the Wounded Warrior Battalion West, stationed at Camp Pendleton. These troops hold countless untold stories of heroism we never hear about, probably for good reason.
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 business, enjoying the benefits derived, almost feels like a prerequisite when considering the bounty we reap.
If you would like to host a 1/1 Marine or Marine Family for Thanksgiving, please contact, either Erica L. Shaw, Family Readiness Officer, 1st Battalion, 1st Marines at 760-763-1429 or Melinda Willet, Family Readiness Officer, Wounded Warrior Battalion-West at 760-429-8606. Simply let them know how many Marines you would like to host (we’ve had from one to six) 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).
The Marines that we’ve kept in touch with have asked me to convey how much it means to the 1/1 to receive these invitations.
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.
Lynn Selich can be reached at Lynn@OCSoc