On this past Memorial Day the Borough of Bogota had the honour to host a Platoon of U.S.Marines from Fleet Week in New York. They are from the Second Marine Air Wing, Units HMLA-269 Light Attack Helicopter Squadron, VMM-266 Medium Tiltrotor Squadron, and HMH-464 Heavy Helicopter Squadron all based in Jacksonville, NC. The Women & Men took part in the American Legion / VFW Remembrance Ceremonies in front of Borough Hall. Lcpl Brandon Parks & Lcpl Jonathan Muniz served as escorts to Rebecca Pigoncelli when she placed a wreath at the MIA/ POW Monument.
After the ceremony the Marines were first invited to the W. Broad St. Firehouse for a chance to relax and meet some of the Volunteer Firefighters. They were treated to a snack of Hot dogs and sodas. The service personnel exchange small gifts with Asst. Chief Michael Brophy being presented with a unit " Challenge Coin" from PFC Kristi Schweers, and she received patches of the companies of the Bogota Fire Dept. The Marines next moved to the VFW post 5561 Hall to a sit down lunch of Sandwiches and sides and a chance to hear stories from the Veterans gathered. The Younger soldiers listened to tales from past conflicts, which some of the Marines may have heard from their Father & Grandfathers. While the Veterans had a chance to learn about the changes that have taken place, and how some things are still the same, since they served the Country.
Bogota Blog NJ had a chance to talk about life in the Marines and their visit to New Jersey. Some Lcpl Muniz & Lcpl McGowin come from the New York area and enjoyed the chance to see Family & friends. Other came from mainly small towns from across the Country, from New Hampshire & Florida to Texas & California being just a few. For many this was their first opportunity to visit the New York area they have had some memorable experiences to return home with. The first being the size of the building of Manhattan, and the quick pace of the city. A transit system that reaches many different parts and the volume of traffic to travel in. Then to come to a vastly different lifestyle only a few miles away in New Jersey. The single homes with lawns, and porches. The tree lined streets along with the kids playing along the side. They also would have liked to thank all of the people along the parade route who applauded them as they marched by.
When asked about why the choice of joining the Marines some have a family background of Military service. With a few growing up as grandchildren of former Marines and now sharing experiences with those members of the Family. Other are first generation Marines trying to sign-up as young as 17, and finally doing so at 19. There were stories of how High School & even College life was leaving them with something missing. Either a lack of discipline or structure that could cause the "wrong" decision to be made as well as a desire to push oneself further than what their day to day life was at that time. A duty to serve the Country and help other, or a way of "paying back" they opportunities living in the United States have given them & their Families over the years. Of the hardest part about being a part of the Marines is the absence of Family & friends. Being away for long period of time,and only have a short few moments together was echoed by many that were asked.
On the question of what was one of the best things about being a part of the Marines it proved to be more difficult to answer. The choices were many for just one to be the right answer. Travel, adventure & serving the Country were top answers. Other were the chance to not only learn new skills, but to learn what they had inside themselves, even if they did not know it was in them. The chance to learn how to be a leader, and the surprize of being a role model by doing one's job. Stories of children asking for autographs, being congratulated as well as thanked for their service. The tears of joy from Family upon graduation from boot camp.
When asked about boot camp it was a time that never seemed to end, but something that would never forget. They told of starting with a 40 hour day which began at Midnight with the arrive at Camp. Being told were to go, what to do when & how do it. When to talk if ever, and what to say when one was allowed. How to think, how can one move faster, higher, stronger, on how did you ever think you could make it with the Marines? All by a voice that was either LOUD or LOUDER. Some who were interviewed were envious of others because they had a whole two minutes to shower the end of that first "day". Both the Women & Men that were interviewed share the same stories of Boot Camp. When ask if it was harder to be a Female in the Marines the answer was by the time Camp, and other Basic training was finish, the person that came out was another Marine. They all have the same duty to perform, the same oath to Country the same EGA ( or Eagle, Anchor, Globe which is the embellin which is earned when completing boot camp) pin to a Marines collar , and the same history behind them.
|The Marines attend the Remembrance service.|
| Lcpl Brandon Parks & Lcpl Jonathan Muniz escorting Rebecca Pigoncelli |
with the wreath for the MIA/ POW Monument.
|Asst. Chief Michael Brophy being presented with a |
unit " Challenge Coin" from PFC Kristi Schweers,
|The Marines and Firefighter in front of the W. Broad St. Firehouse|
|VFW Cmdr Alex Hernandez serving the Marines who serve the Country|
|Marching in the Parade.|