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
February 24, 2017
Friday - Sunday
Pierre M. Sprey - Franklin “Chuck” Spinney
Sleepwalking Into a Nuclear Arms Race with Russia
Ajamu Baraka
Malcolm X and Human Rights in the Time of Trumpism: Transcending the Master’s Tools
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Exxon’s End Game Theory
John Laforge
Did Obama Pave the Way for More Torture?
Mike Whitney
McMaster Takes Charge: Trump Relinquishes Control of Foreign Policy 
Paul Street
Liberal Hypocrisy, “Late-Shaming,” and Russia-Blaming in the Age of Trump
Patrick Cockburn
The Coming Decline of US and UK Power
Louisa Willcox
The Endangered Species Act: a Critical Safety Net Now Threatened by Congress and Trump
Vijay Prashad
A Foreign Policy of Cruel Populism
John Chuckman
Israel’s Terrible Problem: Two States or One?
Matthew Stevenson
The Parallax View of Donald Trump
Norman Pollack
Drumbeat of Fascism: Find, Arrest, Deport
Stan Cox
Can the Climate Survive Electoral Democracy? Maybe. Can It Survive Capitalism? No.
Ramzy Baroud
The Trump-Netanyahu Circus: Now, No One Can Save Israel from Itself
Edward Hunt
The United States of Permanent War
David Morgan
Trump and the Left: a Case of Mass Hysteria?
Pete Dolack
The Bait and Switch of Public-Private Partnerships
Mike Miller
What Kind of Movement Moment Are We In? 
Elliot Sperber
Why Resistance is Insufficient
Brian Cloughley
What are You Going to Do About Afghanistan, President Trump?
Binoy Kampmark
Warring in the Oncology Ward
Yves Engler
Remembering the Coup in Ghana
Jeremy Brecher
“Climate Kids” v. Trump: Trial of the Century Pits Trump Climate Denialism Against Right to a Climate System Capable of Sustaining Human Life”
Jonathan Taylor
Hate Trump? You Should Have Voted for Ron Paul
Franklin Lamb
Another Small Step for Syrian Refugee Children in Beirut’s “Aleppo Park”
Ron Jacobs
The Realist: Irreverence Was Their Only Sacred Cow
Andre Vltchek
Lock up England in Jail or an Insane Asylum!
Rev. William Alberts
Grandiose Marketing of Spirituality
Paul DeRienzo
Three Years Since the Kitty Litter Disaster at Waste Isolation Pilot Plant
Eric Sommer
Organize Workers Immigrant Defense Committees!
Steve Cooper
A Progressive Agenda
David Swanson
100 Years of Using War to Try to End All War
Andrew Stewart
The 4CHAN Presidency: A Media Critique of the Alt-Right
Edward Leer
Tripping USA: The Chair
Randy Shields
Tom Regan: The Life of the Animal Rights Party
Nyla Ali Khan
One Certain Effect of Instability in Kashmir is the Erosion of Freedom of Expression and Regional Integration
Rob Hager
The Only Fake News That Probably Threw the Election to Trump was not Russian 
Mike Garrity
Why Should We Pay Billionaires to Destroy Our Public Lands? 
Mark Dickman
The Prophet: Deutscher’s Trotsky
Christopher Brauchli
The Politics of the Toilet Police
Ezra Kronfeld
Joe Manchin: a Senate Republicrat to Dispute and Challenge
Clancy Sigal
The Nazis Called It a “Rafle”
Louis Proyect
Socialism Betrayed? Inside the Ukrainian Holodomor
Charles R. Larson
Review: Timothy B. Tyson’s “The Blood of Emmett Till”
David Yearsley
Founding Father of American Song
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail