One of the most tragic events during the Reagan Presidency was the Sunday morning
terrorist bombing of the Marine barracks in Beirut, in which hundreds of Americans were
killed or wounded as they slept. Many of us can still recall the terrible scenes as the
dazed survivors worked to dig out their trapped brothers from beneath the rubble.
A few days after the tragedy, I recall coming across an extraordinary story. Marine
Corps Commandant Paul X Kelly, visited some of the wounded survivors then in a Frankfurt,
Germany, hospital. Among them was Corporal Jeffrey Lee Nashton, severely wounded in the
incident. Nashton had so many tubes running in and out of his body that a witness said he
looked more like a machine than a man; yet he survived.
As Kelly neared him, Nashton, struggling to move and racked with pain, motioned for a
piece of paper and a pen. He wrote a brief note and passed it back to the Commandant. On
the slip of paper were but two words -- "Semper Fi" the Latin motto of the
Marines meaning "forever faithful." With those two simple words Nashton spoke
for the millions of Americans who have sacrificed body and limb and their lives for their
country -- those who have remained faithful.
J. Dobson & Gary Bauer, Children at Risk, Word, 1990,
The time was the 19th of May, 1780. The place was Hartford, Connecticut. The day has
gone down in New England history as a terrible foretaste of Judgment Day. For at noon the
skies turned from blue to gray and by mid-afternoon had blackened over so densely that, in
that religious age, men fell on their knees and begged a final blessing before the end
came. The Connecticut House of Representatives was in session. And as some men fell down
and others clamored for an immediate adjournment, the Speaker of the House, one Colonel
Davenport, came to his feet. He silenced them and said these words: "The Day of
Judgment is either approaching or it is not. If it is not, there is no cause for
adjournment. If it is, I choose to be found doing my duty. I wish, therefore, that candles
may be brought."
Robert P. Dugan, Jr., Winning the New Civil War,