Dear brothers and family members of 1-4:
My prayers and love go out to all of you… Memorial day hit me like the others but I welcomed other thoughts that came to me that my Heart would not let me forget. We all Respect and Honor Our Dead and those who have gone before us especially those we shared life with while humping the Monsoon Rains and the heat and death of Vietnam Nam. We tried not to get too close because this brother could be dead that evening or the next day; but we shared a little and the little is how we remember this brother today. I was in Vegas when 29 Brothers came forward and spoke of their best buddies or closest Nam Brothers who they shared the last part of their lives with. When it comes to remembering a Brother before he goes down or gets blown up or goes silently in a fire fight. We remember what we talked about and that interaction between two brothers before one is dead – We may have talked about what we are going to do once back in the world or how good it was to receive a goodie package from home – filled with real peanut butter or Dr Shoals foot powder and cookies your Mom made. No matter what the conversation we will never forget our last conversation – one minute alive then gone Dead- Oh God in Heaven it was so hard to see his dead body and think the many things we still think. Yes we just finished Memorial Day and we all spent it differently but the heart felt memories are the same and now that we are 65,68, 70 going on 19 where we stopped as boys and became Men of the Marines -,Our lives, Our Minds and Our Hearts were left 13,000 miles away where we fought to keep each other alive!!! Attention Attention there is a combat Marine in His Dress Blues or Greens or even his Fatigues Reading this and feeling GOOD about Espirto de Corps – SEMPER FI MY BROTHERS It’s another Memorial day but guess what we are still alive and we need each other to now survive “Old Age” Give that Wife or Girlfriend or if any of the children are around make a Loving statement, “Thank You” for being in my life and thanks for being my life time Friend and Love. Hope to see you all in South Carolina’s Reunion and thanks for allowing me to serve you as your Chaplain.
Peter A. Cignarella M.ED. USMC
Subject: Montford Point Legacy
I have been asked by a friend and Brother of 1-4 Bn. 3rd Marine Division and as a Chaplain for all my Brothers who know what is Tattooed on our Hearts under the name Lord Jesus Christ reads: Semper Fi ; that is “Always Faithful”
Andy Anderson Alpha Company 1-4 1969 Viet Nam Combat Wounded. Andy told me of a Marine Deacon in his church that inspired a young Mr. Anderson to not only follow his love for Our Lord Jesus but wanted to join the Marines because of what the Montford Marines taught him about Love of your Brother, and how to turn your cheek if insulted or hit verbally.
I don’t know Nathaniel Menefee on a personal level, but because of his position as a Deacon at your Missionary Baptist Church -I know him Spiritually as we are teachers of the Word and we are both Combat Marines. I have heard how our brothers were the first Black Afro Americans to train as Marines and Graduate from Montford Point and I can only speculate how difficult these times were for Our Heroes during training and then be sent to Load Ammo on a ship or the front lines to keep the Ammunition supplies at the ready.
From 1775 thru 1941 is a long, too long of a period to have kept Black Americans out of the Marine Corps and as History has shown us that the Politicians and Bigots that were making Decisions were Morally Wrong. Our Brave Black Brothers never quit but endured all the Hatred and Vile talk against them. What kept me alive all these years especially in Combat in Viet Nam was Faith, Hope and Love and the greatest of these was Love. Andy Anderson can tell you of some of the Rituals we used to keep each other alive and to Mourne a Dead Brother while placing a Dead Marine on a Chopper – headed for Da Nang to be bagged and shipped to Okinawa…
I have a retired Priest friend who once said to me “Don’t count your blessings because God the Father and the Holy Spirit are counting them for you.. I must while thanking my Lord, I would like to thank Eleanor Roosevelt who visited Camp Jejeune N.C. And asked where are the Black American Marines and the ANSWER she received was we don’t have any!!!
Well Mrs Roosevelt gave her Report to her Husband President Roosevelt and thus getting the Opening of Montford Point training for Black American Men to become U.S. Marines .. Within the Gold Medal that Deacon Menefee has is a tribute to all Our Black Americans, who Graduated from Montford Point and the Inscription reads : “FOR OUTSTANDING PERSEVERANCE AND COURAGE;THAT INSPIRED SOCIAL CHANGE IN THE MARINE CORPS …
This is not only a Marine Corps change, but Values for all Americans to look at and adhere too… I would like to pray and thank Deacon Menefee for his part in changing attitudes, Values and the strengthening of not only the Marine Corps but Our Country- The United States Of America…
God Bless you Deacon and “Semper Fi” Sir, for upholding the Values and traditions of Our Marine Corps. May the power of the Holy Spirit continue to bless you and fine young Marines like “ANDY ANDERSON” 1stBn 4th Marines.
Lastly it was my Honor to hear the truth about Montford Point and One Outstanding Man who Serves The Lord who taught him Love and Tolerance and who continues to teach for Our God and Country- Amen- Amen
Your brother In Christ Jesus
Peter A. Cignarella M.ED. CHAPLAIN
1-4 3rd Marine Division.