FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

A Plea to the Marines

by MISSY COMLEY BEATTIE

 

It was almost time to leave my apartment to attend an organization meeting of Progressive Democrats in New York City where I was speaking on behalf of Gold Star Families for Peace. I had printed two photographs of my nephew, Marines Lance Cpl. Chase Comley, killed in Iraq on August 6, 2005, to show the audience as I spoke. Putting a face on the loss is important. I wanted these people to see one of the 2,237 troops who have died so senselessly during George Bush’s illegal occupation of a country in which upwards of 100,000 Iraqis have also perished.

My nephew was as handsome as a leading man. He had the most beautiful blue eyes. Certainly, I know this doesn’t make his life any more valuable than others who have died. But there is something tragically ironic about Chase’s face-destroying injury. I wanted the choir to whom I was preaching to have a visual “before shot” of this young man as I told them about his short life, the huge explosion that killed him, and the death’s everlasting effect on my family.

As I placed the images in a folder for protection, the phone rang. My brother Mark, Chase’s father, said, “Listen to this. Payne received recruitment information from the Marines today.”

“Oh, no,” I said.

Mark went on to tell me that the letter read:

Show the world what you’re made of. Respond today to get your free sunglasses or skullcap. Discover what you’re meant to be doing after high school. Are you ready to unleash your full potential? Pass this on to a friend. Please check only one. Free sunglasses or skullcap.

“It shows Marines in blue dress,” he added.

I told him to tell me again, slowly, so I could write it down. I needed to include this in my talk to the group.

Later, when I was introduced to speak, I opened the folder and took out the pictures of Chase. I related my family’s agony over his decision to join the military during wartime, his acknowledgment of needing the discipline that had eluded him as a college freshman, and the seduction by the Marine Corps’ propaganda, “The few, the proud.”

Then I told the group that Chase phoned home every week when he wasn’t in the field. The last time he called my parents, he said he was counting the days until he came home. He said he had 73 days left in his tour.

Actually, Chase came back much sooner than that. He arrived at Dover in a transfer tube, George Bush’s euphemism for body bag, about ten days after he’d spoken with my mother and father.

I read to the audience the contents of the recruitment letter Mark’s soon-to-be stepson had just received.

And then I ended with: “Payne is 12 years old. The Marines cannot have him. Their messengers of death already have rung the doorbell at my brother’s house.”

MISSY COMLEY BEATTIE can be reached at: Missybeat@aol.com

 

Missy Beattie has written for National Public Radio and Nashville Life Magazine. She was an instructor of memoirs writing at Johns Hopkins’ Osher Lifelong Learning Institute in BaltimoreEmail: missybeat@gmail.com

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

Weekend Edition
December 02, 2016
Friday - Sunday
John Pilger
The Coming War on China
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: The CIA’s Plots to Kill Castro
Paul Street
The Iron Heel at Home: Force Matters
Pam Martens - Russ Martens
Timberg’s Tale: Washington Post Reporter Spreads Blacklist of Independent Journalist Sites
Andrew Levine
Must We Now Rethink the Hillary Question? Absolutely, Not
Joshua Frank
CounterPunch as Russian Propagandists: the Washington Post’s Shallow Smear
David Rosen
The Return of HUAC?
Rob Urie
Race and Class in Trump’s America
Patrick Cockburn
Why Everything You’ve Read About Syria and Iraq Could be Wrong
Caroline Hurley
Anatomy of a Nationalist
Ayesha Khan
A Muslim Woman’s Reflections on Trump’s Misogyny
Michael Hudson – Steve Keen
Rebel Economists on the Historical Path to a Global Recovery
Russell Mokhiber
Sanders Single Payer and Death by Democrat
Roger Harris
The Triumph of Trump and the Specter of Fascism
Steve Horn
Donald Trump’s Swamp: Meet Ten Potential Energy and Climate Cabinet Picks and the Pickers
Louis Proyect
Deepening Contradictions: Identity Politics and Steelworkers
Ralph Nader
Trump and His Betraying Makeover
Stephen Kimber
The Media’s Abysmal Coverage of Castro’s Death
Dan Bacher
WSPA: The West’s Most Powerful Corporate Lobbying Group
Nile Bowie
Will Trump backpedal on the Trans-Pacific Partnership?
Ron Ridenour
Fidel’s Death Brings Forth Great and Sad Memories
Missy Comley Beattie
By Invitation Only
Fred Gardner
Sword of Damocles: Pot Partisans Fear Trump’s DOJ
Renee Parsons
Obama and Propornot
Dean Baker
Cash and Carrier: Trump and Pence Put on a Show
Jack Rasmus
Taming Trump: From Faux Left to Faux Right Populism
Ron Jacobs
Selling Racism—A Lesson From Pretoria
Julian Vigo
The Hijos of Buenos Aires:  When Identity is Political
Subcomandante Insurgente Galeano
By Way of Prologue: On How We Arrived at the Watchtower and What We Saw from There
Dave Lindorff
Is Trump’s Idea To Fix the ‘Rigged System’ by Appointing Crooks Who’ve Played It?
Aidan O'Brien
Fidel and Spain: A Tale of Right and Wrong
Carol Dansereau
Stop Groveling! How to Thwart Trump and Save the World
Kim Nicolini
Moonlight, The Movie
Evan Jones
Behind GE’s Takeover of Alstom Energy
James A Haught
White Evangelicals are Fading, Powerful, Baffling
Barbara Moroncini
Protests and Their Others
Joseph Natoli
The Winds at Their Backs
Cesar Chelala
Poverty is Not Only an Ignored Word
David Swanson
75 Years of Pearl Harbor Lies
Alex Jensen
The Great Deceleration
Nyla Ali Khan
When Faith is the Legacy of One’s Upbringing
Gilbert Mercier
Trump Win: Paradigm Shift or Status Quo?
Stephen Martin
From ‘Too Big to Fail’ to ‘Too Big to Lie’: the End Game of Corporatist Globalization.
Charles R. Larson
Review: Emma Jane Kirby’s “The Optician of Lampedusa”
David Yearsley
Haydn Seek With Hsu
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail