Here’s the letter in full:
City conveyed its appreciation to MarineThese heart-warming incidents are a testimony to the attitude of gratefulness in our area for those serving in defense of our county. It reminds me of the outpouring of gratitude on the return of the Lima Company Marines in October 2005, when the city showed up en masse to welcome home our local heroes from Iraq.
Sunday, February 3, 2008 3:10 AM
I am a Marine Corps dad who picked up my son from the U.S. Marine Corps Recruit Training Depot at Parris Island on Jan. 25. I had no idea what was in store for him when he came home to Columbus.
Upon our return, we have witnessed a gratitude from the people of Columbus that we did not expect. Last Sunday, my son, Pvt. Tyler Allen Leavitt, put on his dress-blue uniform for church to visit those who have prayed for him during the tough training that Marines must endure for the honor of being called a United States Marine.
During this “victory tour,” Tyler has witnessed a grateful nation through the awesome, intimate hand of fellowship from the people of Columbus.
Here are a few of the wonderful gestures:
After church we had lunch at Stan’s Restaurant. A waitress slipped Tyler $20 and whispered, “Thank you,” and went on her way. We went to T-Mobile at Easton to re-establish Tyler’s cell-phone service. The customer-service line was out the door. Tyler looked at me and said, “Dad, this could take a while.” I left him there for a couple of minutes to look around. I came back to find that the entire line had moved this Marine to the front, as he was already being taken care of by the T-Mobile staff.
While walking to our truck to leave Easton Town Center, many acknowledged Tyler by blowing their horn shouting, “Semper Fi.” The most emotional event was when we heard a mother with her young children say, “Kids, you have just been passed by a United States Marine.” It was all I could do to hold back my tears.
Tyler joined the Marines from his deep passion to serve and protect the nation and people he holds dear. I know from his silence and the look in his eyes during these events that he was deeply moved.
I can see that the honor, courage and commitment instilled during his training was strengthened by the people he loves so much.
Thank you, Columbus.
Pvt. Leavitt’s parents and family have reason to be proud, as do the families of all those from our area serving our nation in uniform. God bless all those serving at home in abroad to keep us safe and free. May we always be willing to show our gratitude.