Always Faithful

Semper Fi

This post is from the anonymous writer of a story that reminds us of the dedication that Marines have to the Corps, the country, and each other. Their motto, “Semper Fidelis,” means “always faithful.” May we be found as faithful to God, family, friends, and our country as the United States Marines.


As I came out of the supermarket that sunny day, pushing my grocery cart,  I saw an old man looking at the engine under the raised hood of his car and a lady sitting inside with the door open.

I put my groceries in my car and watched the old gentleman from about twenty five feet away. A young man in his early twenties with a grocery bag in his arm walked toward him. The old gentleman saw him coming, took a few steps in his direction, and pointed to his open hood as he spoke. The young man put his grocery bag into what looked like a brand new Cadillac Escalade then turned back to the old man and yelled, “You shouldn’t even be allowed to drive a car at your age.” With a wave of his hand, he got in his car and peeled rubber out of the parking lot.

The old gentleman pulled out his handkerchief, mopped his brow, and went back to his car to look again at the engine. Then he went to his wife and appeared to tell her it would be okay.

I’d seen enough and approached the old man. He stood straight as I approached. “Looks like you’re having a problem,” I said.

He smiled sheepishly and quietly nodded his head. I looked under the hood and knew that whatever the problem was, it was beyond me. I’m going to the gas station up the road for help. I’ll be right back.”

At the gas station I approached one of three attendants working on cars and told him the problem. I offered to pay them if they would follow me back and help the gentleman.

While I was gone, the old man had pushed the heavy car under the shade of a tree and appeared to be comforting his wife. When he saw us he straightened up and thanked me for my help. As the mechanics diagnosed the problem (overheated engine), I spoke with the old gentleman.

When I shook hands with him earlier, he had noticed my Marine Corps ring and had commented on it, telling me that he had been a Marine too. I nodded and asked the usual question, “What outfit did you serve with?”

He said, “I served with the first Marine Division at Guadalcanal, Peleliu, and Okinawa.”

He had hit three of the worst ones, and retired from the Corps after the war was over. As we talked, the car’s engine started and the mechanics lowered the hood. The old man reached for his wallet, but I told him I would put the bill on my AAA card.

He pulled a card out of his wallet and handed me it to me. I assumed it had his name and address on it, so I stuck it in my pocket. We all shook hands all around again, and I said my goodbye’s to his wife.

I followed the two mechanics back to the station to pay them for interrupting their own jobs to help the old gentleman, but they refused to charge me.

One of them pulled out a card from his pocket. It looked exactly like the card the old man had given to me. Both of the men said that they were Marine Corps Reserves. Once again we shook hands all around. As I was leaving, one of them told me I should look at the card the old man had given to me. I said I would and drove off.

I drove about two blocks before I pulled over and took the card out of my pocket. I looked at it for a long, long time. The name of the old gentleman was on the card in gold leaf and under his name was written, “Congressional Medal of Honor Society.”

I sat there motionless, looking at the card and reading it over and over. I looked up from the card and smiled to myself and marveled that on this day, four Marines had come together because one of us needed help. He was an old man all right, but it felt good to have stood next to greatness and courage, and an honor to have been in his presence.


This Memorial Day, I hope you’ll remember old men like him who gave America the freedoms we enjoy today. Remember those who served, those who still serve, and the families of our service men and women around the world and here at home. Pray for their safety on the job and that the good Lord will return them to their families strong and healthy.

And pray for us, that we might have the same love and respect for each other, regardless of age, that the Marines showed one of their own. Semper Fidelis… always faithful.

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