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why I bought a bond

September 28, 2012

In 1961, as Natalie Wood — the daughter of Russian immigrants — was gracing the big screen

as the Latina Maria in West Side Story, Tony Curtis — the son of Hungarian Jewish immigrants —

was portraying the Pima Native American Ira Hayes in The Outsider.


Hayes was one of the five Marines in the iconic photo of the raising of the U.S. flag on Iwo Jima

in 1945.  He became famous, and struggled with that fame, according to the movie.  About all

that he could handle was mumbling “buy bonds” to audience after audience.


But his request was still resonating through the Corps in the summer of 1966 when I was at

boot camp, learning to liberate the Vietnamese (who would later be depicted in film by non-



One morning, after being gently awakened by a screaming drill instructor, my platoon was

treated to some bracing physical training and a breakfast of a food-like substance.  We were

then marched into a large quonset hut with three other platoons for classes.  It was through

this educational process that we learned helpful facts, like how the Marines were the only

branch of service to ever participate in defending America.


The lessons were tolerable at the start of the day, but as the summer sun heated the tin hut

and our lunch of a food-like substance expanded in our flat stomachs, the afternoon classes

were soporific.  I kept a pin in my trousers to stick in my thigh to keep me awake.  To fall

asleep while hearing another example of Leatherneck superiority was certain death by D.I.


Before we got our daily dose of revisionist history that day, however, all the D. I.’s walked

to the front of the room and stood in front of the instructor with their arms folded.


“If anyone doesn’t want to buy a government bond, come see me,” he said.


We had 100 percent bond sales, and I bet that the streak continues to this day.


Years later in my brief military career, I cashed in the bond as soon as it matured.

A bit too early, it turned out. The store that cashed it called me to report that it had

bounced.  “The government is broke?”, I thought.


That was my first inkling of a gnawing knowledge.

  1. Hudi permalink
    October 1, 2012 11:10 pm

    So, what happened with the “bounced” bond?

    • October 2, 2012 8:08 am

      I retrieved it and held on to it until it matured.

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