A major battle started west of here, yesterday. A brigade of Marines, 4000 strong, is trying to clear the Helmand River Valley of Taliban. Both the NY Times and the Washington Post have photo coverage.
The Marines took several casualties, including one killed in action. We sent him home this morning, in another ramp ceremony. Due to the short notice, only about 1000 attended. The Navy Chaplain was wearing a prayer shawl and began with an invocation. Then he led the pallbearers down the aisle to the waiting C-130, as the Marine Corps Hymn played slowly. The Marine colors dipped in salute as the coffin passed, draped in its crisp flag, neatly tucked. And the sad, sweet notes of Taps sounded as the hydraulics raised the ramp closed.
We send this young Marine home to his parents, and to all of you.
Happy Independence Day.