Sense of Purpose

It’s 0710 on a Monday morning, and I’m about to cry.

The past few days have completely exhausted me. Last Thursday we were in Torrance, California, for their Armed Forces Day Celebration. The oldest celebration recognized by the government as an official observance, and one of only six in the country that is sponsored by a city, after 44 years they have it down. Our concert Friday night was observed by generals and admirals from every branch of the Armed Forces, and very well received by all. Saturday we were the featured unit in the parade, so not only did we lead off the parade, but we also played a post-parade show, also well received.

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Marine Musicians

These past couple weeks I’ve spent most of my time doing a part of my job I don’t normally get to do. I’ve spent the past seven days on the rifle range, firing 50 rounds per day at targets between 200 and 500 yards away. As a Marine, I’m required to be qualified to fire the M16A2 service rifle in the regulation course of fire. As a Marine Musician, I don’t normally get the opportunity to do this.

Many people ask me if I had to go to recruit training (“boot camp”) in order to do what I do. Many Marines in my unit take offense to this, as if it’s a logical connection to make between a well-groomed musician marching down the street in dress blues playing a horn and a rifle-toting, camouflaged warrior on the battlefield. I, however, do not share in their attitude.

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Perhaps it’s what I do, or perhaps it’s just that I’ve noticed more lately, but ignorance is abound.

I recently heard a discussion about the implausibility of the Apollo landing on the moon. There was much skepticism that what has been compared to tossing a quarter into a vending machine in Cleveland from Chicago could actually be done in the in the 1960s space program. And this is perfectly understandable. We’re talking about something that actually would take a rocket scientist to figure out. I wouldn’t even know where to begin, and I’m one of the more intelligent people I know.

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I’ve recently come to realize that friends are far more important than I ever realized. I therefore regret not really having any. I have always been surrounded be people who cared about me, and whom I cared about. But for some reason, I’ve never considered many people to be more than just acquaintances. This isn’t to say I’ve never had friends. I mean, I guess I have.

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