When Terry graduated from boot camp on Parris Island in March of 1990, I was there to pick him up. I remember he was full of excitement – both to see me and to start his life in the Corps. That first day, one of the places we visited on the island was the Marine history museum. Now everyone knows that all Marines are highly trained – on the rifle range, in hand to hand combat, drilled and humped (that’s marching) until they almost drop. But what you may not know is that one of the first things that a new recruit is taught is the history of the Corps. Knowing this history is what inspires the “Esprit de Corps” among Marines. All that “the few, the proud” stuff is not just for posters. Take a visit to the Marine Corps Museum to see what I mean.
So from very early on in our relationship, I heard about all about the battles and the Marines that came before. Smedley Butler , John Basilone , Dan Daly and, of course, Chesty Puller. My husband had a special affinity for Chesty. But hell, most Marines do. With that bulldog face and Marine attitude, what jar-head wouldn’t? During the Korean War, when surrounded by the enemy on the Chosin Reservoir, Chesty is quoted as saying “All right, they’re on our left, they’re on our right, they’re in front of us, they’re behind us…they can’t get away this time.” A truly inspiring Marine.
When Terry was doing his walk for charity in 2011, one of the routes he took was from Chesty’s home in Saluda, VA to the Marine Corps Museum in Quantico. It was crazy hot and Karlos the Dog was suffering a bit, so Terry had to shorten the walk from the original 90 or so to 45 miles. None of the Marines he spoke to about this hike were surprised about where he chose to start it.
In honor of my husband, and all Marines, I chose to make an art quilt of Chesty. I don’t have a place in mind to send it to, but I don’t really care. This was a labor of love.
Here is a detail of his iconic face. The colors and the focus on this insert are more accurate to real life (my camera is so annoying!) 🙂