Every now and then you get to shoot something that makes you proud of everything you have ever done in your life. Being a Navy veteran, I would have never thought I would have gone to the Marine Corps Birthdays Ball, much less shoot the ball. This year I had the honor of being their photographer. It did not disappoint. It reminded me of my Navy days in San Vito Italy. The comradery, the feelings, the bravery, and the brethren. I saw things that were not around when I was in the military. Some traditions have changed, but most have not. I got to meet everyone from an E-1 to a General, who would have thought. So much respect.
I remember back in my Navy days, those the Marines and the Navy did not always get along. Sometimes, it was a fist fight that broke out. At the same time, if a civilian comes into the room and starts something, the room would be military against civilian. Man, I miss those days.
The day of the ball started out just like any other day, at the stockyards. I got there and everything was going according to plan. When I started shooting the Marines, it was photos back-to-back. I was proud to have my friends with me: Tevia Keener, Jordon Keener and Mary Lott. We had one heck of a team. When the ceremony started and they played the Star-Spangled Banner, my chest pumped out, my hand went over my heart and I was never prouder to have served or to be a Veteran. As I listened to the whole ceremony, it brought a tear to my eye and reminded me of what America is all about. I know those men and women would have done anything for me that night and I for them.
Finally, to all my new Marine Corps Friends, Semper Fi. Oh, and to the Navy Corpsman I had the privilege to meeting, Fair Winds and Following Seas, shipmate…..