Honoring a distinguished military career

Published 9:41 am Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Last week was the election, and thank goodness it was last week. That means we all survived.

But while last week was important to talk about the election, and the fundamental responsibility of all of us to cast a ballot, I failed miserably with the timing of my column last week.

Instead of talking about the election, which had been discussed to the very last nuance, I should have taken the time to talk about those who made it possible for us to hold such an election, made it possible for us to have the opportunity to vote in the first place.

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Yes, last week was the election, but in ways far more important, it was also the week in which we marked Veterans Day.

Throughout the years, during the week Veterans Day fell, I would often write about those in my family who served their country in one of our country’s armed forces.

In the past, I had written about my two grandfathers, both who served in World War II and beyond.

In the past, I have written about my father and his service in Vietnam as part of the small, but proud contingent of the U.S. Coast Guard asked to navigate the very dangerous rivers of that country.

But many others in my family also proudly served. I had an uncle who served in the U.S. Navy and have a cousin who is nearing two decades of service in the Coast Guard.

But one individual, not previously mentioned is not a member of my family, but a member of what I would call a brotherhood— the United States Marine Corps.

And, there were others I have been close to who also served, or are still serving.

I am a former Marine, but my service is not what is important; it is that of one Robert Steiner.

Robert Steiner, or who I should more deservedly call “Top” to show proper respect for his rank of Master Sergeant, is a “young” man I watched enlist in the Marine Corps right after high school and then watched as he has served his country with distinction for two decades.

Robert is a few years younger than I am, but we went to the same high school, grew up in the same church and worked the same summer job picking just about every produce you could think of in south Alabama.

While in the Marine Corps, Robert has served in prestigious locations, and those far less glamorous. He has served tours in combat, seen friends injured and killed.

During that time, he also has found time to not only be an outstanding Marine, but get married and grow a family.

Robert only has a few days left in his Marine Corps career, and it has been a stellar career by all accounts.

My friend Robert has no idea that I am writing about him today. He would be beyond embarrassed if he knew I was doing so.

I have the utmost respect for Robert, not because of the Marine he is, but for the man he has become and the life he has led.

He will soon find out that far more exists to life than the Marine Corps, but like many of us have found out, service to the Corps — or to any service — is service that can help shape a life.

Well done, Top. Semper Fi.
Tim Reeves is publisher of The Vicksburg Post. He can be reached by email at tim.reeves@vicksburgpost.com

About Tim Reeves

Tim Reeves, and his wife Stephanie, are the parents of three children, Sarah Cameron, Clayton and Fin, who all attend school in the Vicksburg Warren School District. The family are members of First Baptist Church Vicksburg. Tim is involved in a number of civic and volunteer organizations including the United Way of West Central Mississippi and serves on the City of Vicksburg's Riverfront Redevelopment Committee.

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