Ask any Marine, and he/she will know the significance of Lewis B. “Chesty” Puller… period. Likewise, it should be no surprise that the legend of “Chesty” finds its way to the kids of Marines. And, so it goes with me.
I don’t know when, exactly, but… it was probably before I was nine, when I thumbed my way through my father’s copy of Marine. As a Virginian, “Chesty” was a role model, both for his passion for service to country and for all of the baggage (and I don’t mean that it a derogatory way) that goes along with the “heritage” of being a Virginian. I recall spending a significant amount of time mulling over the passages about his short time at VMI, and those related to his grandfather, Maj. John W. Puller (5th Virginia Cavalry), who was killed at Kelly’s Ford, on March 17, 1863. Of course, there was also his great admiration of Stonewall Jackson that always struck a chord with me. As I’ve said in a previous post, don’t try to debunk the significance of Confederate leaders and the inspiration they’ve instilled in Southerners to serve the U.S. military. As much as it may confuse the people who can’t comprehend such a thing, well… there’s some things some people just can’t fathom… but, Puller is an excellent example of how it has paid off for the United States… hands down.
Anyway, I’m sharing an old John Ford video today (via YouTube), focused on Puller… and narrated by John Wayne. Even despite the errors (such as the reference to Robert E. Lee starting at VMI), it’s still an enjoyable piece reflecting on Puller’s career… and capped-off with video of Puller visiting the graves of both Jackson and Lee. And, yes… you’ll even see Confederate battle flags in the clips where Puller visits Lee Chapel.
Enjoy… and, again, Happy 239th Birthday, Marines!