This morning, while out running, I came up on a group of Marines and a couple dozen teenaged kids, a few of them girls, marching along the public trail I run on. The kids were each wearing a helmet and some webbing. Some of them had packs on, as well. Maybe some ROTC group or something. As I approached, the Marine in the back yelled out “Make room from behind!” and the marchers, in two lines, split to the sides of the path to let me pass between them. I said a number of “Thanks, guys!” as I passed, and several of them called out “You’re welcome, sir!”

I came upon them again as I headed back. This time all the kids were all sitting along the path, out of breath. The Marines were going up and down the path, handing out bottled water. “Don’t say the Corps never gave you nothin’ for free!” a sergeant said as he handed one to a sweaty boy. They moved aside so I could pass, and that was that.

God bless ’em.