Thursday, November 03, 2005

The Far Keening of the Pipes


Sergeant Jim Roper USMCR

Lieutenant Colonel Patrick Carroll USMC

In a previous post I used the word consanguinity. Its origin comes from the Latin word for blood and can be used to mean "in the blood", or "of the same blood". It comes to mind how the word blood is used in a variety of passionate phrases; getting your blood up, swearing a bloody oath, he saw blood, or to one's marrow (the source of blood). One thing that will definitely get my blood fired up is the sound of bagpipes. The drone of pipes will drag me out of the house and down the street in search of its source. Here at Camp Fallujah there is a piper named Lieutenant Colonel Patrick Carroll. I first heard him night before last practicing outside in the dark. Many pipers practice late at night out-of-doors. LtCol Carroll echoes what many pipers believe, practicing indoors will either make you deaf, or drive you mad.

Another interesting and inspirational Marine I've met is Sergeant Jim Roper. Sgt. Roper is a Marine Reservist hailing from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. In his civilian life he's a Major in the Oklahoma State Highway Patrol. Over here he's with civil affairs, working to restore Iraq's economy and legal system. What's so special about Sgt. Roper? Sgt. Roper was originally in the Marines as a MP from 1972 to 1976. At the age of 53, almost 30 years after he hung up his dress blues to become a highway patrolman, he re-enlisted into the Reserves! 9/11 got his blood up. He heard the far keening of the pipes, left the plow in mid-furrow, kissed Mama goodbye, shouldered his rifle and returned to serve in the War on Terrorism. This gentleman is neither summer soldier nor sunshine patriot. When you turn on the news tonight and watch the faces of politicians and celebrities remember that men like Sgt. Jim Roper are the stuff that America was and continues to be forged out of, and those parading across your TV screen could use a marrow transplant from a guy like this. Semper Fi!

3 comments:

whit said...

Thank God for men like Sgt Roper and may He keep him and you safe from harm. Thank You for your service. I have put your sight in my favorites and will revist often.

Blake said...

How was sgt Roper able to enlist at age 53? I've been trying since I was 40 (right after 9/11) only to be told by each service that I'm too old. I've written Congressmen, Senators, and others....to no avail.

wfparker said...

I just found your site yesterday and, after reading a couple of posts, bookmarked the site and began reading. Your artwork and writing are excellent.

I like the idea of LtCol Carroll piping "out there" in the dark. I was roving about the back streets of Barcelona early one cold December morning on Shore Patrol - yeah, I was a squid - when I heard the piper. That was when I first understood the word surreal, and decided I there was something special about bagpipes.