12 June 2000

"The Show Must Go On!"

Chris Mulholland 
Major, United States Marine Corps, (Retired)

I was assigned to Marine Barracks Hawaii back in the mid 80's.  We conducted about half a dozen formal sunset parades a year followed by a garden party reception at the CO's historical house.  At one point, the Barracks was referred to throughout the Corps as "Eighth-and-I West."  Numerous VIPs would attend since it was considered a social highlight in Honolulu.  Some of the parades were special because of double or triple rainbows which would cross the sky but one parade was memorable because of the color guard.  The flag we used was extremely large and required a greater number of Marines than normal.  As the flag came down on this one particular parade, the first Marine to be able to reach it was a Corporal.  Just as he grasped the corner of the flag with one hand, however, a gust of wind filled the sail-like Old Glory and lifted him -- literally -- about 10 feet in the air...he never let go.  You could hear the gasp from the crowd.  The flag then gently settled him back down to the ground and the colors were gathered up without any more 'excitement.'  During the garden party after the parade, many of the guests couldn't stop talking about what a "wonderful display" the Marines, especially the non-plussed Marine corporal, had put on that evening.  When I talked to the corporal later on, he admitted that he had been scared s**tless...but knew that "THE SHOW MUST GO ON!"