At the start of 2013 we are entering the fifth year of reporting our series about East Tennessee veterans.
Our latest installment highlights the importance of your feedback and ideas. Thanks to a hand written letter, we met a retired Marine living in East Tennessee who crossed paths with two presidents. Those encounters were among his many memorable moments during a 26 year career. In addition to our on camera interview retired Lieutenant Colonel Marcus Reed took time to answer a few more questions about his life in and out of the service.
1. What one person influenced you most in life?
I would have to say my mother did and my dad was close behind. They shaped my character and integrity. I also had a school counselor Mrs. Moore. She would write me letters in Vietnam and believed in me when others had given up.
2. Do you feel honored and respected for serving your country?
I do more than I did my first 10 years in the Marine Corps. I go to places that recognize military service and I do feel respected. It has changed in a positive way since Vietnam.
3. How can people thank you for your service?
Just by holding true to the principles of our country. The parts of The Constitution that men and women have bled and died to protect.
4. How do you honor your fellow service men and women?
When I see WWII veterans or Korean War veterans I make sure I go to them and thank them for what they have done for me as an American.
5. How do you think this generation of service men and women is different or similar to yours?
As an older generation of Marines you always worry about the next generation. But I have seen examples of this generation living the Marine Corps principles of honor and integrity.
6. What influence did your military service have on the rest of your life?
It has given me a regimen to shape my life. I hold to the principle of being truthful. It also helped make me open to new ideas.
7. Does your family have a history of military service?
My dad was injured by a drunk driver so he wasn't able to serve. My brother was in the Air Force. My Uncle was with the 82nd Airborne in the Normandy invasion at the start of WWII.
8. Would you encourage younger generations in your family to join the service?
I would encourage them as far as the benefits of education are concerned. I'm concerned about our country. I do have mixed emotions. I think military life is good. It helps you so much. But also I encourage them to make sure you know what you are committing to.
9. How has your opinion of war changed?
My opinion has not changed. I don't care for war. We do need to be prepared to defend what it is ours in the this country.
10. How did your military experience shape your faith?
I'm careful about my faith. I have a strong belief in God. I know there is something better than this life. I'm thankful for my faith.