Written By: Angela Dines
Dad: Richard Hain, Sgt. Major Retired, USMC
My Dad isn’t late. Ever. He has perpetual punctuality in his DNA and has always said if you’re not 15 minutes early you’re late. This is the kind of thing that happens when you’ve made yourself into a Career Marine. On this day, we were running late, and since I was only 5 years old at the time and I’m 31 now, I can’t exactly remember why. We were rushing, and it was probably about 90 degrees outside-you know, Kaneohe Bay isn’t exactly known as the coldest duty station around. I had my left hand in my Dad’s and my right hand around my lunch box, as we ran through the common area so Dad could drop me off for another glorious day of Kindergarten. All of a sudden, I heard it—and looked up at my Dad to see what it was. Even though it was a sound I had heard a million times before, I had never asked what it was for, and today it sounded different, and it felt different. Dad went still, dropped my hand, turned slightly, and held a perfect salute. I stood perfectly still and can vaguely remember opening my mouth to ask what was happening, but I thought better of it (Dad might recall this differently). My heart was bursting with pride. I remember thinking that my Dad MUST be the strongest, BEST Marine there ever was. I stood still with him until it was done, and then he grabbed my hand again and we crossed the last few yards to my class. I’m sure the rest of the day continued like any other, but that morning left an indelible mark on my childhood and it’s a day I think of often. I think of it any time I see a homecoming special on the news, or talk to or email a friend whose spouse is away, or any time I see the events happening overseas and realize how lucky I am that my children are safe each day because of what the Marines do for us. Because of what my Dad did for us. Thanks Dad, and thank you to every US Marine out there for your sacrifices for our freedom.
About the Author:
Richard Hain retired from the USMC in the fall of 1997 as a Sgt. Major, after a successful and enriching 26-year career. He currently lives in Yuma, Arizona with his wife, Glenda, and son, Andrew. The author, Angela Dines, currently resides in Phoenix with her husband, Gerod, and two children, Ryder and Emery. Angela and Richard see each other on a regular basis and are known for happy hours at the Staff Club when she visits.