Happy Memorial Day!


I’ve always loved Memorial Day. It makes me feel patriotic and appreciate the sacrifices the armed forces have made to preserve the rights and freedom I cherish.

For as long as I can remember, my father has always flown the American flag with pride…even when we didn’t have a flagpole. While living in our small flagpole-less childhood home, he’d somehow manage to hang his HUGE flag from Vietnam on our small porch, making guests limbo underneath it or push it aside. And to make the cramped situation worse (or better, if you’d ask my dad), he’d also manage to hang the United State Marine Corps flag. Sweaty from his flag-hanging handiwork, he’d step back and admire the two flags wobbling from our porch. And—without fail—he’d belt out to no one in particular: HOO-RAH…Semper Fi! Which I’m guessing is loosely translated from Marinese to be something like: Once a Marine, Always a Marine and I Love this Beautiful Country to Sacrifice My Life to Protect and Serve Her…Bulldogs, Baby! Or something like that.

I like spending Memorial Day with my father. He’s engrained how blessed we are to live in this amazing country and how our lives are exponentially better. My father illegally immigrated to this country as a child with his mother and siblings. My grandmother worked in underground sweatshops, as a maid, as a cook, as pretty much anything to survive…and my father somehow managed to trickle into mainstream America unnoticed. Almost eight years after their immigration, they still could not get citizenship, so my father decided to voluntarily join the Marine Corps during the height of Vietnam. If he came back alive, he was guaranteed citizenship. Four years later, my father stood with a tiny American flag in his hand and said the Pledge of Allegiance in Los Angeles County City Hall as a citizen. Shortly thereafter, because of my father’s legal status, the rest of his family became American citizens as well.

So that’s why he still hangs his flags with pride. And although he has less hair, and a larger waistline, he’s still a Marine…and one of the proudest Americans I know.

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  1. nicole green

    May 28th, 2007 at 4:04 pm

    wow i loved reading that! it’s so neat to read about everyone’s families on their blogs.

    i hope you have a great time with your dad today!

  2. stephanie

    May 28th, 2007 at 4:54 pm

    God Bless the U.S.A.!!! What an awesome story! Thanks for sharing.

  3. Jill Higgins

    May 28th, 2007 at 5:03 pm

    Thanks for sharing. I love reading your blog – you are such a gifted writer!

    By the way – your new blog looks great!

  4. Rachael C.

    May 28th, 2007 at 6:32 pm

    I love the story! My husband is in the marines and it’s so nice to here they carry that legacy on with them for a lifetime. I love your blog btw!!

  5. Teresa

    May 28th, 2007 at 8:25 pm

    Where did he immigrate from?

  6. Jasmine*

    May 28th, 2007 at 10:57 pm

    Hi Teresa! My father immigrated from Mexico…and my mother is from Puerto Rico

  7. World Famous

    May 29th, 2007 at 3:17 pm

    That’s amazing Jas…I love reading your blog.

  8. Courtney

    May 29th, 2007 at 6:16 pm

    What a neat story! Sounds like you have an incredible family jas!

  9. amber

    May 30th, 2007 at 1:04 am

    Beautiful Jas…

    I love you. Your words never fail to move me… thank you.

  10. misty

    May 30th, 2007 at 1:34 am

    I love this blog, my hubby is a Marine and it’s like you said "Once a Marine always a Marine"

  11. Kay English

    July 29th, 2009 at 1:31 am

    Oh wow! This is a very inspiring story and gave me goosebumps. My husband’s best friend is a Marine and he’s made so much sacrifice for everyone.

  12. Lauryn

    October 14th, 2009 at 4:16 pm

    I know this comment is SUPER late in the game but I love this post. My grandfather was in Vietnam and also came back alive which is amazing. 🙂 thank you for this story!

  13. Ingamae

    July 2nd, 2010 at 6:51 pm

    OMG. I love your daddy just from reading this post!!!!! My daddy is a retired Lt. Colonel and is a MARINE who fought in VIETNAM as well. It wasn’t until I got saved at 29 five years ago that I finally appreciated what the military does to ensure my freedom. It makes me cry actually as i type this. God loves the military. I love them and bless them as well. Bless your dad massive!

  14. Becky S

    April 23rd, 2011 at 1:57 am

    ok just read this old post and as the daughter of a soldier and now the mom of one as well..gave me goosebumps