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Semper Fidelis: Always faithful

December 21, 2012
Salem News

Well-served are our citizens by the United States Marines. They serve us on the battlefield and off. They are what being red, white and blue - of being a true American is all about. That patriotism comes in different forms.

Here is an example of a wonderful act by a Marine. And it didn't involve a combat zone or engagement of any enemy. But it merits praise.

This Wednesday past, according to the Associated Press, a Marine veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan took up self-imposed duty in front of a central California elementary school in the wake of the Connecticut shooting.

Sgt. Craig Pusley stood all day in fatigues in front of the flag pole at the school just southeast of Modesto. He was not armed.

Pusley, who served two tours in Iraq and one in Afghanistan before leaving active duty last year, told the school principal that "he wanted to make the kids feel safe in light of what happened at Sandy Hook Elementary," the principal said.

The veteran Marine arrived at the K-3 school a little before 7:30 a.m. and asked permission to stand guard. He stood in front of the flag pole until 2:30 p.m. He did so without taking any breaks. He was back to stand sentry on Thursday, the school's last day before the holiday break.

Sgt. Pusley is a father of a 3-year-old and his wife is expecting another child. He told the Modesto Bee that he decided to take action after reading a Facebook post urging soldiers to be posted at every school in the wake of last week's tragic shooting in Connecticut.

"When I enlisted, I swore to defend this country from all enemies, foreign and domestic," Sgt. Pusley said. "I just want to be sure all these kids go home safe for Christmas."

What a thoughtful and kind gesture this was by a Marine who had already well-served his country with two active duties. Imagine the figure he cut, the example he set, for those schoolchildren. Imagine the lesson of life he taught those children of never feeling alone and never feeling scared. He is a hero to those kids.

It will take some time and some doing across our nation to heal the confused and bewildered young souls shaken by what occurred over a few horrific moments in a Connecticut school building.?But acts by that proud Marine and those of hundreds of others across our country will go a long way in the soothing process. Such acts are indeed the American way. We would expect no less.



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