Saturdays are busy on the Sam Merrill Trail, but yesterday was the first time I ever saw a troop of U.S. Marine Corps recruits take to the path. The sergeant (front row, center) was amenable when I asked if I could take a photo, but now that I look at it I'm not sure all the recruits wanted their picture taken. However, they were ordered into formation and they posed with their mascot, Banzai. This group is from the Pasadena Substation.
They're at the beginning of a learning process and it's not going to be easy. Already things were tough on the trail. One recruit had trouble keeping up; it was hot, the recruit wasn't in shape and the sergeant had to yell. It was going to be a long hike.
John and I did a short hike, part way up. On the way down we passed a brief altercation between the sergeant and a civilian hiker who thought the sergeant was being too harsh.
Archetypally, it was an argument between protector and protected.
That sparked a discussion between me and John about whether or not the Marines should have been training in public view on the Sam Merrill trail. It's clear we need a military, as unfortunate and medieval as that may be. And the training can be tough, it can get ugly. And although we well-protected, well-to-do, insulated non-military types benefit from it we don't want to be exposed to it, do we?
If you read my blog you know I'm one of those lefties who despise war, but I can tell the difference between the fight and the fighter. The young people I saw on the trail yesterday may end up as supply officers, soldiers, engineers, recruiters... Regardless, they volunteered to serve their country, our country. I don't know what sent them, whether they're escaping something or seeking something. I only know I'm grateful and I hope they find what they need. That recruit who struggled up the hill was struggling with more—with self and with Self. And there are bigger battles to come.
I wish them all safety and success.