Jimmy was a good kid. He graduated (first in his class} from a small school in the rust belt. He enlisted in the United States Marine Corps. Jimmy had wanted to be a Marine all of his life. His Dad had been a Marine, His grandpa had been a Marine. When he left for Paris Island his Mom cried but he promised “Mom, I will come home. I promise!” and he did.
Jimmy then served two tours in Vietnam. Each time his Mom cried and each time he promised “Mom, I will come home. I promise!” When Jimmy returned he was blessed with the opportunity to attend Annapolis and become an officer in the United States Marine Corps. He once again made that promise as Mom cried “Mom, I will come home. I promise!” and he did every chance he could. Jimmy too remembered his Dad didn’t come home from his last mission.
After each tour of duty Mom would bake cookies and make Jimmy’s favorite supper of Sausage Gravy poured over her homemade baking powder biscuits. They would walk hand in hand through the dusk to the memorial over an empty grave to remember Jimmy’s Dad. Jimmy would pull his harmonica from his shirt pocket and play taps one more time, come to a full attention, salute and say “Thanks Dad!”
It was the day after Memorial Day. Jimmy was coming home and bringing the survivors of his platoon for “Mom’s Sausage Gravy and homemade biscuits.” Jimmy’s letter had said “Don’t worry Mom I’m coming Home. There’s only six of my men alive but we’re coming home.” They were coming home from yet another tour. The sausage gravy was simmering and the biscuits were in the oven when she looked out the window.
The driveway was filled with Marines all in dress uniforms. On their shoulders was a steel casket wrapped in a flag. Jimmy’s platoon had brought him home. The men told Jimmy’s story. After Jimmy had written Mom there had been one more fire fight. Jimmy carried three women and four children to safety before he too was cut down. Fatally wounded Jimmy crawled behind a wall pulled out his harmonica and began to play The Marine Corps Hymn… The tune brought yet another platoon to rescue them.
The Men cleaned up the sausage gravy, washed the dishes, and tried to help Mom with her loss. Later that week they buried Jimmy next to the empty grave that bore the memorial to his Dad. After the 21 gun salute, taps was played, and all the brass had left, the remaining six all pulled harmonicas from their shirt pockets and played Taps the way Jimmy had taught them. They snapped to Attention and saluted reciting in unison “Thanks Jimmy!” Mizpah ;-}}>