Sunday, April 23, 2006

A Marine's Prayer, Lance Corporal Justin Sims

Partly Cloudy - Hi 95 Lo 73 for Baghdad, Iraq
Partly Cloudy - Hi 70 Lo 51 for Northern KY, USA

Song of the week: Fragile, Sting


Michael, The Dark Celt replied via email to last Sunday's post with the following comment on snakes and I wanted to share...

"[...] Anyway, regarding your comment on why soldiers pose with dead snakes... I never really thought of it but, you know what, I'll be damned if you aren't right... it has and does happen frequently. I wonder why? Maybe it's in a soldier's or American's subconscious. Maybe, in an indirect way, American soldiers are merely echoing what their forefather's did during the American Revolution with the whole, "Don't Tread on Me" thing. [...]

To be sure, the snake or serpent has always represented evil. Maybe soldiers like to have photos taken with dead snakes because it's symbolic of defeating the enemy. Consider, for a moment, St. Michael - the Archangel... almost every image or painting you see of St. Michael, he's stomping the almighty hell out of a snake. The snake, of course, is Satan. St. Michael, by the way, is the patron saint of U.S. Army paratroopers. And what about St. George and the dragon? St. George is the patron saint of the U.S. Army infantry. Now, as far as I know, there ain't any dragons around.... but there is an abundant supply of snakes. A grunt in the field, holding aloft a dead serpent... couldn't that soldier subconsciously be emulating images he's seen of St. George? Saint George with a newly slain dragon 'neath his feet?"

I like that Michael... it makes sense to me... although when I said something to Kyle and apparently he never posed with a dead snake when he was active military... so that blows my theory...


So, Friday evening after a long painful day at work, my buddy, my pal, Kyle and I attended the visitation of fallen Marine, Lance Corporal Justin Sims.

Did either of us know him? No. Why go? This young man gave the ultimate sacrifice. The least I can do is show up and pay my respects.
Funerals at best is a sad occasion - a time when folks can reminisce about the good times... at worst it is a time when you see loved ones fall to pieces with heartache so great, you believe they might never recover.
Attending a visitation or funeral for a young soul is particularly painful and heartbreaking.

Look at Justin's face. Justin was only 22 years old. Justin was only 26 months old when President Reagan gave his speech about the Space Shuttle Challenger. "We will never forget them, nor the last time we saw them, this morning, as they prepared for the journey and waved goodbye and slipped the surly bonds of earth to touch the face of God."

Look more closely. The photo they gave us at the funeral home, shows that Justin had piercing blue eyes... A handsome, gregarious man. He signed up for The Corps, knowing full well, where he could end- yet that was never even a consideration.

Look yet even closer. According to his mother, Alma - being a part of the Marine Corps was a life long dream.

Look beyond the dress blues... this is a man, who loved his life... loved his family, loved his wife, loved his friends. He knew what he was doing. He knew that being in Iraq and fighting terrorism there is a far better thing.

When we arrived, young men and women were in dress blues. The funeral home was packed. In speaking with one woman, she stated that the line had gone out the door. We walked into the parlor where Justin's coffin was covered by the American flag. On either side of him on guard were 2 Marines in dress blues. I said a prayer. We moved from room to room, several folks had done memory boards with pictures from happier days. One was done by his widowed wife. We have widows now.... she is only 22... In the adjoining room, members of the MCJROTC were standing at attention. There were pictures of a younger Justin from high school when he was a member of the MCJROTC.

Flowers were everywhere and were sent by everyone... the cards were just snapshots of the love people had for this young man. In lieu of flowers, someone sent a platter of chicken wings from Applebees with a tall neck beer... better days... good times...

Kyle and I made our way about. Kyle was calling out and embracing every man that had on the uniform and calling out "Semper Fi" to them. Kyle spoke to a young man and asked if he could point us in the right direction of the parents. The young man rounded up the father first. Kyle embraced him and said something in his ear. I don't know what he said, but tears welled up in my eyes. It was then my turn... I don't remember what I said, except that I was sorry for his loss- that I'm sorry that he had to endure this pain. (what a dumb thing to say...) The young man then took us to meet the grandmother. Kyle instantly hugged her and said something in her ear. Grandma wasn't crying. She was one tiny petite tough as nails cookie. She was watching everyone. She then reached out and embraced me.... she hugged me! She thanked me for coming. At that point I remember asking for the words from Him and He gave them to me. I told her that I was so sorry that she lost her grandson. I thanked her for the sacrifice she and her family has made. I thanked her for the courage and bravery of her grandson. The young man, who I can only assume was a family member waited quietly and when we finished speaking with Grandma, led us to Alma, Justin's mother. The young man introduced us and Kyle without hesitation hugged her and they embraced for a very long time. She started to weep. Kyle and she were both speaking to each other. As I watched them embrace, I remember feeling my own tears going down my cheek. I didn't try to stop crying. I just let them fall. It was then my turn. I asked Him for the words again. I hugged her, she thanked me for coming. I thanked her for her sacrifice, I thanked her for her son and his ultimate sacrifice. I told her that I was so sorry that she had to feel this much pain and sorrow. The whispered conversation ear to ear seemed to go on and on. She hugged me and I hugged her the way I hug those I loved dearly. You know what I mean? Tight and unguarded... We then all talked about many little things- the funeral details... things to keep the conversation going- small talk... thank goodness Kyle was there... I suck at small talk... She then started to weep again. She had one of Justin's dog tags on a chain around her neck and she started touching it. She then started laughing and said, that if Justin were there, he'd kick her a$$ for being all weepy. She told us he loved the kids in Iraq, she told us that he wrote her about all the good work they were doing in Iraq and that it is right thing to do. Justin's mom is one tough woman. She wanted to make sure we understood that. Alma wanted everyone to know that her son loved his country, loved his family, loved The Corps and he was proud to be part of an elite group fighting the bad guys....

Thank you, Alma.

Articles and Links about Justin:

Patriot Guard
Courier Press
Cincinnati Enquirer
AP weblog

Blogs and Links to Check Out This Week:

I only have one link this week, because I haven't had much computer time this week. but go check out Diane and read this one by her... a portion of a speech given by Teddy Roosevelt... pretty poignant stuff...


Capt B. continues to write.

Jedi Master Rob shares his experiences on Earth Day.

A Marine's Prayer

Almighty Father, whose command is over all and whose love never fails, make me aware of Thy presence and obedient to Thy will. Keep me true to my best self, guarding me against dishonesty in purpose and deed and helping me to live so that I can face my fellow Marines, my loved ones, and Thee without shame or fear. Protect my family.

Give me the will to do the work of a Marine and to accept my share of responsibilities with vigor and enthusiasm. Grant me the courage to be proficient in my daily performance. Keep me loyal and faithful to my superiors and to the duties my Country and the Marine Corps have entrusted to me. Help me to wear my uniform with dignity, and let it remind me daily of the traditions which I must uphold.

If I am inclined to doubt, steady my faith; if I am tempted, make me strong to resist; if I should miss the mark, give me courage to try again.

Guide me with the light of truth and grant me wisdom by which I may understand the answer to my prayer.

So, this week, when I get whiney about how much I detest my job... I'll remember Alma and the week she is having....

Have a great week everyone!


Mark said...

I like Sting. Thanks.

He wrote/sang some some a decade or more ago about Chile......"They Dance Alone."

Haunting and awesome, one of the best pieces of music I've ever heard.

Now I have to go find it.

GC said...

Semper Fi Marine !!
A job well done. Rest peacefully young man in the hands of GOD. We will all see you soon.

Ross, OH

jerzy said...

Wonderful effort. Thanks for being there.

Cpl Ness said...

Thank you for comforting the family of a fallen Marine. I don't know where the funeral was held (assuming Kentucky), but here in California, when funeral details show up for duty on Saturdays and Sundays, they never look forward to it. It's not the ceremony that gets them, it's the protestors that stand just beyond the gravesite, or out on the street by the church, and wave signs that say such things as "Thank God For Dead Soldiers"
We are doing good things over there. Those who live there, who live 'normal' lives over there, want us there. They want us to stand guard and train their army. We can't abandon them until their armed forces are strong enough to do what we've been doing for the past three years - keeping the citizens safe.
Thank you.
LCpl "Chris" Ness

Cathy said...

Thanks to all of you for stopping by.

Chris - California has many chapters of the Patriot Guard Riders. They can assist with the protestors and put themselves between the protestors and the grieving family. Go check them out - they are anxious to help.

Anonymous said...

my name is jessica tomlinson. Justin Sims was my brothers best friend.So he was always at my house kidding around with everyone! I found out about the passing of my friend on Easter. I came home from churh and my mom and brother wasnt there. I went toasked my dad where they were and glanced at the tv screen. There was Justin's picture and I fell to my knees. I then knew that my mom and brother were at! I still to this day remember moment by moment of how his funeral and layout was. I lay in bed at night and cry because leah is sleeping without her husband, alma and beechie are without their son, my brother is without is best friend, and America is without one less person who cared and died for His country. Its been a year and two months since his death and everyone who knew Justin is still deeply sad! I will ALWAYS AND FOREVER LOVE HIM! My prayers are with his family and friends!

otr said...

Otr 214427
Work from home theory is fast gaining popularity because of the freedom and flexibility that comes with it. Since one is not bound by fixed working hours, they can schedule their work at the time when they feel most productive and convenient to them. Women & Men benefit a lot from this concept of work since they can balance their home and work perfectly. People mostly find that in this situation, their productivity is higher and stress levels lower. Those who like isolation and a tranquil work environment also tend to prefer this way of working. Today, with the kind of communication networks available, millions of people worldwide are considering this option.

Women & Men who want to be independent but cannot afford to leave their responsibilities at home aside will benefit a lot from this concept of work. It makes it easier to maintain a healthy balance between home and work. The family doesn't get neglected and you can get your work done too. You can thus effectively juggle home responsibilities with your career. Working from home is definitely a viable option but it also needs a lot of hard work and discipline. You have to make a time schedule for yourself and stick to it. There will be a time frame of course for any job you take up and you have to fulfill that project within that time frame.

There are many things that can be done working from home. A few of them is listed below that will give you a general idea about the benefits of this concept.

This is the most common and highly preferred job that Women & Men like doing. Since in today's competitive world both the parents have to work they need a secure place to leave behind their children who will take care of them and parents can also relax without being worried all the time. In this job you don't require any degree or qualifications. You only have to know how to take care of children. Parents are happy to pay handsome salary and you can also earn a lot without putting too much of an effort.

For those who have a garden or an open space at your disposal and are also interested in gardening can go for this method of earning money. If given proper time and efforts nursery business can flourish very well and you will earn handsomely. But just as all jobs establishing it will be a bit difficult but the end results are outstanding.

Freelance can be in different wings. Either you can be a freelance reporter or a freelance photographer. You can also do designing or be in the advertising field doing project on your own. Being independent and working independently will depend on your field of work and the availability of its worth in the market. If you like doing jewellery designing you can do that at home totally independently. You can also work on freelancing as a marketing executive working from home. know more, email us on and we will send you information on how you can actually work as a marketing freelancer.

Internet related work
This is a very vast field and here sky is the limit. All you need is a computer and Internet facility. Whatever field you are into work at home is perfect match in the software field. You can match your time according to your convenience and complete whatever projects you get. To learn more about how to work from home, contact us today on workfromhome.otr214427@gmail.comand our team will get you started on some excellent work from home projects.

Diet food
Since now a days Women & Men are more conscious of the food that they eat hence they prefer to have homemade low cal food and if you can start supplying low cal food to various offices then it will be a very good source of income and not too much of efforts. You can hire a few ladies who will help you out and this can be a good business.

Thus think over this concept and go ahead.