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An April 28 visit to the National Museum of the Marine Corps provided more inspiration than my husband and I had bargained for.
Shortly after arriving at this magnificent museum, we were privileged to witness a posthumous awarding of the Silver Star to the family of a fallen Marine.
Later, as we entered the Iwo Jima display, we had as our docent a Marine in his mid-80s who had been present at the battle of Iwo Jima in February 1945.
This lively, articulate gentleman informed us that he had been just 18 years old when his regiment landed on the beach at Iwo; he was the only one of that group of 26 Marines to survive that battle.
As we prepared to leave the museum late in the afternoon, we saw a large color guard representing all branches of the military, forming outside the entrance. We learned that five busloads of World War II veterans were due to arrive shortly for a dinner honoring them, and we decided to stay and await their arrival.
We were soon joined by many other visitors to the museum, and as the veterans disembarked from the buses and were wheeled or otherwise assisted to the museum entrance, a very grateful group applauded them and shook their hands.
What an honor it was to be able to thank these men and women for their service. It was a fitting conclusion to this inspiring day, and a clear reminder that we are "the land of the free because of the brave."
Mary Ella Fuquay