Scott Johnson

“Up in the morning with the Minnesota sun. Up in the morning with the Minnesota sun. Going to run all day until the running is done. Going to run all day until the running is done. 1, 2, 3, 4 United States Marine Corps;” so the cadence goes. A dozen or so Marines running into the setting sun.  

The staff sergeant sat across the police station desk from Assistant Chief Steve Schaar and me. He explained that in just a few weeks this group of men and women, ranging in age from 17 to 25, would be halfway across the country at the Marine Corps boot camp in San Diego, Calif. They will be tested as they have never been tested before. Thirteen weeks later, they will graduate as United States Marines. They will then complete Marine Combat Training School at Camp Pendleton. No doubt, many of them will eventually be sent overseas, protecting our country and preserving our freedom. Each is making at minimum of a four-year commitment. For some, the commitment may be the ultimate sacrifice for our country.  

The sergeant explained to us that as the Grand Rapids Marine Corps Recruiting Sergeant, he is trying to mold these men and women into a cohesive group, preparing them for basic training, as they await their departure date. That is why each Wednesday, at 5 p.m., the sergeant and these fine young men and women are out running.

He explained that from time-to-time they have been approached by police officers or sheriff’s deputies who politely explain that a resident reported a suspicious group, all wearing the same color T-shirts, running and shouting. He told us, “One resident called police stating that the cadence they were shouting was disturbing their dinner.” I believe that the resident probably did not understand what was taking place.

Staff Sergeant Turner then asked, “Chiefs, all we want to know is where in Grand Rapids can we run?”  

Steve and I replied, “Sergeant, the United States Marines can run anywhere they please. We are proud to have you. In fact, if it comes to it, we will put a marked police car in front of the group. “

So, if you see a group of young men and women running, yelling cadence, wearing Marine Corps T-shirts, please say a silent prayer of thanks, as they are the true protectors of our freedom. I know their community and their police department will always stand by them.

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