Pictorial Essay Page 38
Mixed Picture Page
"The War is not over till all our troops come home"
The Marine - Sergeant Aaron M. Gilbert
Submitted by Dick Carlson
This is a poem being sent from a Marine to his Dad.
For those who take the time to read it, you'll see a letter from
him to his Dad at the bottom. It makes you truly thankful
for not only the Marines, but ALL of our troops.

The Marine
We all came together,
Both young and old
To fight for our freedom,
To stand and be bold.
In the midst of all evil,
We stand our ground,
And we protect our country
From all terror around.
Peace and not war,
Is what some people say.
But I'll give my life,
So you can live the American way.
I give you the right
To talk of your peace.
To stand in your groups,
and protest in our streets.
But still I fight on,
I don't bitch, I don't whine.
I'm just one of the people
Who is doing your time.
I'm harder than nails,
Stronger than any machine.
I'm the immortal soldier,
I'm a U.S. MARINE!
So stand in my shoes,
And leave from your home.
Fight for the people who hate you,
With the protests they've shown.
Fight for the stranger,
Fight for the young.
So they all may have,
The greatest freedom you've won.
Fight for the sick,
Fight for the poor
Fight for the cripple,
Who lives next door.
But when your time comes,
Do what I've done.
For if you stand up for freedom,
You'll stand when the fight's done.
By: Corporal Aaron M. Gilbert, US Marine Corps
March 23, 2003

Hey Dad,

Do me a favor and label this "The Marine" and send it to everybody on your email list. Even leave this letter in it. I want this rolling all over the US; I want every home reading
it. Every eye seeing it. And every heart to feel it. So can you please send this for me? I would but my email  time isn't that long and I don't have much time anyway. You know what Dad?  I wondered what it would be like to truly understand what JFK
said in His inaugural speech.

"When the time comes to lay down my life for my country, I do not cower from this responsibility. I welcome it."

Well, now I know. And I do. Dad, I welcome the opportunity to do what I do. Even though I have left behind a beautiful wife, and I will miss the birth of our first born child, I would
do it 70 times over to fight for the place that God has made for my home.  I love you all and I miss you very much. I wish I could be there when Sandi has our baby, but tell her that I love her, and Lord willing, I will be coming home soon. Give Mom a great big hug from me and give one to yourself too.


If this touched you as much as it touched me, please forward it on.
Let's help Aaron's dad spread the word ...
... someone pays for you and me.

Dick and Merlene Carlson,
Winterport, Maine

"We can't change the winds but we can adjust our sails."
Aaron’s poem/letter

In March of 2004, I received a poem written by Marine Corporal Aaron M. Gilbert, along with a letter to his father, asking him to forward it to as many people as possible on his father’s e-mail.  The poem touched the Carlson family deeply. We are a retired Navy family, having served faithfully in the United States Navy for 20 years. We sensed the deep emotional pull he has for his family, and the strong commitment for democracy which led him to serve his country in a land far away – a land so unlike ours in many ways, but where freedom was struggling to be heard and was being fought for, as did our ancestors here in America. 

I forwarded that poem and letter to all of my e-mail friends.  Before I did, I stripped all of the e-mail addresses from it, to protect the privacy of others.  I did not, however, delete my own demographics at the bottom of the e-mail.  I had forgotten to do that.  And so, it got sent with our names (Dick and Merlene Carlson) attached to it.

In October of 2004, I began receiving e-mails, cards and letters, expressing their gratitude for us having raised such a fine young man as Aaron. They wrote their appreciations in the forms of poems and letters.  A grade school teacher in Florida, assembled her 4th graders, and asked each one, to write a few lines to Aaron.  They were going to ‘adopt’ Aaron. We read the letters, written by these young innocent people, expressing their appreciation for Aaron fighting in a foreign land for them, and praying that his baby would be born healthy and that his wife Cindy would be protected from harm.  We read the more than 30 letters in that envelope, written in the hand of a very young child, with typical early youth’s grammatical errors, and it was a beautiful moment which brought tears to our eyes. The youth are so innocent of life as an adult sees it.  I, as an Elder in our church, used some of those letters in one of my sermons.   A family in Ohio, sent a beautiful U.S. Marine picture frame so that I could put Aaron’s picture in it.  Another family member in Tennessee crochet a baby blanket for Aaron and Cindy’s newborn baby.  Over the Christmas holidays, we had received over 75 cards and letters for Aaron and his family.

The problem is, that Aaron is not our son, nor have we ever met him. He is someone in an e-mail, which we also received and forwarded on to others.

As the mail arrived, we put everything into a secure box and trusted in the Lord that some day we would find this noble Marine, who was fighting for democracy in a foreign land, and praying that his and Cindy’s child would be born healthy. 

I knew he had been assigned to the USS Saipan. It said so in his e-mail.  I knew of a U. S. Navy Chief who was to be assigned duty to that ship.  Through another connection, I asked them to locate Aaron Gilbert for us. The Navy Chief reported back that Aaron was not on board the ship any longer.  Meanwhile, mail kept arriving for Aaron. I then took it to the Lord, and asked him if it be His will, help us find this young man.

Late in the evening in November, I received an overseas telephone call from a Belgium Colonel Army Officer, calling from BELGIUM no less.  He had received the e-mail, in Belgium, and had posted it on the company’s bulletin board for all to read and respond to.  I had to explain to him what I’m telling you, in this letter.  Aaron is not our son.  Our conversation ended with gratitude for each other in securing democracy in this world. 

December arrived, and with it, the cards and letters were pouring in.  We had been out one evening to watch our 12-year-old grandson in a basketball game.  Upon arriving home, I checked the telephone for messages.  The Belgium Colonel had called back.  He had found Aaron.  He gave me Aaron’s e-mail address. 

I wrote to Aaron, and explained what was happening.  I asked him to please call me (collect) or e-mail me.  I needed to send him everything that had arrived for him and his family. 

Weeks later, in January, Aaron called me at 8:30 A.M. from his home in North Carolina. We had a nice chat.  He was stunned to hear the response to his poem and letter, especially when I told him, it was also being read in Europe!  I also explained how the Belgium Army Colonel had found his e-mail address.  Aaron gave me his postal mailing address over the telephone.  I asked him if the baby had arrived.  He said it had.  He now had a son. 

The next day, I boxed up all of the mail and gifts, with the picture frame, and baby blanket, and sent them on to him. Every week now, I’ve been sending a large envelope of cards and letters and e-mail to him. Although I have never heard from him again, I am confident the mail is reaching him, as nothing has been returned to me.  It’s quite possible his outfit has re-deployed once again.   

Aaron’s address is:
Aaron M. Gilbert
2101 Blue Creek Road
Lot 52
Jacksonville, North Carolina 28540

Aaron’s e-mail address is:

Aaron’s Web Site is:

We have been privileged to be part of this adventure in the human free spirit, which lives in all of us.

You can now assist us, by forwarding this along to all of your e-mail friends, asking them also to forward it to ‘their’ friends.  Corporal (now Sergeant) Aaron M. Gilbert needs to hear from you and many who support him.  We continue to lift him up in prayer to our Heavenly Father and ask only the best for him and his family.

Sincerely, and in Gospel Bonds

Richard Carlson
Elder in the Restoration Church of Jesus Christ
U.S. Navy (Retired)
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