One of the primary reasons that a majority of Americans of all political persuasions supported the withdrawal of our troops from Afghanistan was that we back our service members and do not want them to be engaged in conflicts that don’t best serve our national interests.
This was also one of the reasons that Americans were disgusted to see the way President Joe Biden conducted the withdrawal from Afghanistan in a manner that not only handcuffed the unmatched might and determination of our armed forces but put their lives at risk and ultimately cost us 13 service members — 11 Marines, one soldier and one sailor — who will never again return home to their loved ones.
We are proud of our troops as Americans, and the Marine Corps has long been one of our most celebrated institutions and a source of great honor and esteem.
So when a woman who found herself stuck in floodwaters on a Virginia highway this week saw through the rain a group of Marines wading through the water to help her — in their dress blues, no less — she was absolutely right to declare the event was “the most American thing ever.”
I think you’ll agree.
The now-viral video, originally posted to TikTok, shows several Marines wading through water up to their knees to assist the woman and the driver of the vehicle, which had gotten stuck in the deluge, with an unquestioning willingness to assist.
@vigi.boo##themarines ##unitedstatesofamerica ##greateful ##semperfi ##thedaythemarineshelpedus ##godblessamerica ##usamarines ##amen ##beautiful ##intimesofstress ##hope♬ People Help the People – Birdy
“The Marines are going to help us?” the woman could be heard asking in the video. “We just got stuck.”
Although their crisp white and blue uniforms were clearly soaked through as they trudged through the floodwaters in the pouring rain, the men surrounded the car and began to push without hesitation — white gloves and all — as though they were in their utilities.
“This is the most American thing ever,” the woman in the video continued, clearly moved by the gesture and repeating “Thank you so much!” to the Marines as they pushed the vehicle.
According to ARLNow, the incident occurred on Arlington, Virginia’s Columbia Pike, parts of which were indeed blocked by floodwater on Thursday.
According to Heavy.com, social media users explained that the Marines were likely in their dress uniforms because they were “the guys that ceremoniously carry the caskets of fellow Marines at Arlington National Cemetery.”
In the video, you can see a sign for the Memorial Bridge, which is near the historic military resting grounds.
“As an immigrant we don’t usually see these things in the country I grew up in,” the TikTok user who filmed the video, @vigi.boo, wrote along with her post, according to ARLNow. “I am so grateful for the country and its Marines and military.”
Although the original video reportedly garnered positive, appreciative comments such as “Semper fi!” and “Wouldn’t expect anything less of our fine Marines,” other social media users just had to get political, saying the men were on their way to recruit youngsters to join the armed forces or declaring the Marines likely wouldn’t hesitate getting vaccinated.
It’s easy enough to be cynical or critical about such a nonpolitical, purely inspiring moment from behind the comfort and safety of one’s smartphone, but it was the Marines who were out in the rain getting soaked to help someone in need when the time came without worrying about who was inside the car or what might happen to their dress blues.
This is what it takes to defend our country — not endless, partisan bickering and cynicism.
The kind of commitment to doing what’s right in the face of any obstacle displayed by these fine Marines is exactly what our country is, or at least should be, all about. Not shaming or needlessly belittling our neighbors, but helping our community and our country without stopping to worry whether it will please or anger the right people.
We still see it every day in the brave men and women of our armed forces ready to help in any situation, people who quietly do their jobs while the rest of us engage in the endless culture war.
We see it in the dedication of our members of law enforcement who do their best to keep our communities safe behind the thin blue line all too often taken for granted.
We see it in our firefighters and first responders who run toward fires and disasters instead of away.
We see it even in the oft-forgotten, regular, everyday men who hook up their boat trailers to their F-150s to head into disaster zones and rescue flood victims without ever having to be asked.
These are the people who have built our nation, who keep it safe every day, and who will help us preserve it for future generations.
This is why we honor those who fight and who serve. This is why we love our country. This is what makes us American.