When I first moved into the Lincoln Square neighborhood, I discovered my favorite US Postal Station over on Montrose near Damen Avenue. Walking east on Montrose, I’d always walk by a couple of old frame buildings, the type that were a solid part of this neighborhood for decades. Many years ago, one of those houses sustained enough fire damage so that the occupants had moved out. The house sat there, boarded up, for a long time, until today.
Next to this frame house was another frame house, occupied by an elderly man. I’d often see him make his way down the stairs, slowly but still on his own steam. Above his door, proudly displayed, were the words, Semper Fi. He was a US Marine. The first time I saw him, I said, “Hello” and I thanked him for his service. He seemed pleased that anyone would acknowledge his sacrifices. I never knew if his limp was age related or service related, but anytime I’d walk to the Post Office, I’d always look toward his door and be greeted by the Semper Fi (Always Faithful) bumper sticker he proudly displayed above the doorway.
Earlier this year I was walking by and saw several younger adults leaving his house. I wished that I had stopped them to ask how he was, because I never saw him again. I don’t know if he is in a nursing home or if he’s passed away, but I think about this man every time I walk by his old frame house. I think about this man who served, who lived alone, whose house and the house next door I saw bulldozed today.
In his honor, remember other Marines who served and who still need our help. Check out The Semper Fi Fund.