Monday, May 28, 2012

Memorial Day

When I was in eighth grade, my family moved from a very small town in Michigan to Orange County, California.  We arrived in California in October.  The sweaters and jeans I had brought on the road trip were not the most appropriate wardrobe choices for sunny Southern California.  My new short haircut and perm fit in poorly with the free-flowing blond heads of my middle school, and the first person who would talk to me had stories about some encounter with a boy that I did not understand at all.  I felt like a total rube.

Megan looking a lot as she did when we were 13.

Then I met Megan McClung.  She talked a mile a minute, with incredible enthusiasm about just about everything, but especially about gymnastics.  My last experience of gymnastics had been at the YMCA when I was five, but her enthusiasm and cheerfulness was irresistible.  And she was friendly, and I understood her.  She became my first friend.  

She was my first friend in California, and I will always, always be so grateful for that.  But gratitude only goes so far in teenage friendship, and we drifted apart by the beginning of ninth grade because I am, most emphatically, not an athlete and Megan, most emphatically, was.

On December 6, 2006, Major Megan McClung of the U.S. Marine Corps, was killed in combat in Iraq.   Today, her brother shared the U.S. Marine Corps prayer:
Almighty Father, whose command is over all and whose love never fails, make me aware of Thy presence and obedient to Thy will. Keep me true to my best self, guarding me against dishonesty in purpose and deed and helping me to live so that I can face my fellow Marines, my loved ones, and Thee without shame or fear. Protect my family. 
Give me the will to do the work of a Marine and to accept my share of responsibilities with vigor and enthusiasm. Grant me the courage to be proficient in my daily performance. 
Keep me loyal and faithful to my superiors and to the duties my Country and the Marine Corps have entrusted to me. Help me to wear my uniform with dignity, and let it remind me daily of the traditions which I must uphold. 
If I am inclined to doubt, steady my faith; if I am tempted, make me strong to resist; if I should miss the mark, give me courage to try again. 
Guide me with the light of truth and grant me wisdom by which I may understand the answer to my prayer. 
Thank you all that serve, have served and will serve. It is in your service I always will be indebted.
The world is a poorer place without Megan McClung in it.  I hadn't spoken to her in a lot of years, but it makes me sad to know she's gone.  I am grateful for her commitment, and for her sacrifice, but most of all I am grateful for the generosity that made her a person who could give an awkward newbie the confidence to find like-minded friends.  

How many stories are there like this?

Be Bold
Be Brief
Be Gone
  Megan's family has founded a memorial run in her honor.  Details can be found at:


  1. I recently had the honor of visiting Arlington. W

    While there, I made sure to pay a visit to Megan's gravesite and offer up a prayer for her and all the other heroes buried there who were more courageous than I.

    If you get the chance, definitely visit the entire cemetery and also Megan. She is located at: SECTION 60 SITE 8514

    1. Thanks so much for sharing the site information. I hope to make it out there at some point.

  2. I had the pleasure of meeting Megan when she came to Bethesda Naval Hospital while she was at the Naval Academy. This maybe was in the 1991/92 time frame. We exchanged a few letters back and forth and was such a sweet girl. I was thinking of her this week...some odd 20 years later...strange huh? I am so sorry to hear of her death. Craig (

    1. It's nice that she pops into your head now and then. Thanks for adding a bit of a memory of her here!