December 7, 1941; When I reflect on this date, I wonder what was going through the sailors mind moments before the attack. Me, I imagine they were thinking about their family, girlfriend, best friends their brothers. Maybe what they would do that evening or tomorrow….for some it would be their last thought…for others their thoughts would be forever changed. I once entered Pearl Harbor by Naval Ship…the summer of 1988. It was a hot sunny day and we maned the rails while entering the harbor…past all the ship markers (each ship that sank in the harbor has a marker in its place). Manning the rails at attention is an honor paid to those who lie beneath the surface and was an honor of mine to do so.
When I reflect on this date, I think why I couldn’t do more… not on this date ( I wasn’t born) but why didn’t I stay in, why didn’t I do more when I served. Why when I had the chance at the end of the Gulf War didn’t I re-enlist or extend another time??? Maybe it’s because after the Gulf War I thought my job would be done…who would have thought that after the devastation we laid upon our enemy that anyone would challenge us again.
Then came September 11, 2001…. On this date I felt useless watching the events unfold on TV while at a food show in Detroit. I wished I was still in the Marine Corp I wish I could have been there in Afghanistan on October 7, 2001 or in Iraq that day in March of 2003. It’s hard to watch TV sometimes when they talk about the attacks and when I hear of my brothers in arms dying, I feel guilty that I am not there beside them. After all that is what we do…we who took that oath in June of 1985 and all that came before and after.
I often wonder what that oath means to others who said those same words. Did they know what they were saying did they think that one day they would have to do what they swore… will they again? I guess for myself, it meant that I would protect my family and those of my friends that I would protect those who could not protect themselves. I gave my word and swore my allegiance to the United States of America to the Marine Corps and to my brothers and to all who could not stand as we do.
So on this day December 7, 2012 I swear that same oath I swore in the summer of 1985
“I, Tim Honaker, do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God.”
I only hope that the time will never come again I hope that it never comes to our land I hope that it never comes to my door….but I will when called either by nation or neighbor this I swear!