A few months ago, San Francisco humiliated itself by refusing to allow the Marines to film part of a TV commercial on San Francisco’s streets. Looking at what the Marines eventually did for the Bay Area portion of their shot, which was to use the Golden Gate Bridge as soon from the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, I can tell that the City That Used To Know How totally cut off its nose to spite its face when it refused to participate in the commercial. The video is absolutely gorgeous and it ties the Marines in to vast swathes of the United States. Anyway, I like the Golden Gate Bridge shot they actually used because, instead of showing the City that turned its back on the Marines, it instead shows Marin County and, by squinting and lots of imagination, I can pretend I see my home in the distance.
Watching the video put me in mind of Marco Martinez, a former gangbanger who became a Marine and received the Navy Cross. He’s written a book about his experiences called Hard Corps: From Gangster to Marine Hero. I haven’t read the book, but I did hear Martinez interviewed on a radio show. He said that the transforming moment for him occurred when he was in high school (and, at that time, he was a really hardcore gangster) and saw a Marine recruiter walk through the halls. He was so impressed by the recruiter’s imposing figure, by his dignity, and by his perfect uniform, that he suddenly realized that there was life beyond the ghetto and the gangs. Perhaps other young men and women, seeing this new video, will have the same feeling.
UPDATE: I showed the video to my 8 year old son who, predictably, loved it, and made me show it to him 4 times. I say predictably because, yesterday, when we caught a big post-holiday sale at Barnes & Noble, my daughter came home with a puppy calendar and my son came home with an illustrated book on big weapons systems.