June, 1980 Southern California. A young man had just graduated from high school, his dream was to join the military and now was the time.
As he walked down Quill Drive heading for the recruitment office he was dreaming of joining a long line of warriors dating back to his great great grandfather. Now he would join them in serving his country. Laughing to himself he thought of what it meant. His great grandfathers had fought against the country he is now willing to give his life for. How strange it was to be in his position, but this was today and he would soon join in the history of his people and that of America.
He had debated which service to join. The only serious considerations was the Army or the Marines. His father had served in the Army, his grandfather had served in the Marines. His great grandfathers had fought for their people against the very group that he was now going to join.
As he neared the Recruiting Offices he passed by the high school he had graduated from. Stopping for a minute he looked at the sports fields that he had played on. Football and Lacrosse were his passions and he was good at them. He had been offered a chance to attend a fine school in Southern California based on his sports skills. He declined, he was a warrior.
He had discussed this with his father who insisted that he go on to college, but he wasn't interested in more school, he had a path to follow and follow it he would. When his father was sure that he was going to go into the service he insisted on Air Force, Navy or Coast Guard, but this young warrior wanted to be with units that were the first to fight. Army or Marines it would be. He thought of his father who had served with the ''Screaming Eagles'' the 101st Airborne and had fought in Viet Nam. His grandfather who had been a Marine and had fought in the Pacific during WWII. Neither man had ever said much about their experiences, but he could tell that they were proud of what they did.
As he walked up Paramount Blvd and reached Firestone Blvd. he made a right turn and soon was standing in front of the Recruiting Offices with a flip of a coin he walked into the Marine Recruiting office. This decision would have a profound effect on the rest of his life.
Boot camp wasn't as difficult for him as it was for many. He was in great shape from all the sports that he played. He had learned discipline from his father and grandfather. He was a quiet young man, but no one mistook his silence as anything other then just that.
Months later, after boot camp and advanced training he was now a proud Marine. After duty in the Mediterranean his ship sailed to to a place that he wasn't familiar with, a strange place by the name of Beirut. They were to be a peace keeping force. A war was being fought there and they were to try to maintain a peace that was tenuous at best.
Six months later he was back on the ship heading to the United States. They asked for volunteers to return to Beirut and his was the first hand raised. He was a special person to the Marines, highly qualified with weapons and an excellent shooter. He felt that he was doing something good, perhaps saving people from dying. This is why he joined the Marines.
Soon he was back in Beirut, a place that had somehow become familiar to him.
The next weeks went by peacefully. Some patrols, other times sitting on a rooftop with his weapon looking for snipers. He knew how they operated, for he was one as well.
He had made friends with some of the French troops there. He explained to them that he was part French, tracing his history to the French Fur trappers that came to what is now Canada and the United States in the 16th and 17th century. They all got a laugh out of it, since the little French that he spoke clearly was a local dialect.
Shortly after leaving his new friends there was a tremendous explosion at the French Barracks. Men had been killed, this was the first time he heard the words ''Suicide Bomber'', a new weapon.
A few weeks later he was leaving his barracks when a explosion took place, the noise was beyond belief, building parts acting as deadly projectiles, men screaming, men dying.
He laid in the rubble, he had no conscious thoughts, he was in a coma, trapped under the wreckage of what was once the home to hundreds of his fellow Marines.
He felt nothing, didn't know of the Marines digging to find survivors. Frantically they moved chunks of cement with their bleeding hands. They found his broken body and he was rushed to medical aid.
A world away his father was awaked by a vision. A vision that he did not want to see.
Months later at a Naval hospital the young Marine opened his eyes and looked at this father sitting next to the hospital bed and he knew that his dream had ended.
In the spirit of Stone Hand.
Kavika 2012. All right reserved.