Steve Hartman has the best job in America. His stories on CBS News and CBS Sunday Morning are always about regular folk, good people often doing things for others. They are simple stories that are told in 3 or 4 minute segments and always show the better angels of our human nature.
His stories always lift the spirits. When they appear on the evening news, they are often the one ray of light in the darkness of endless stories about human failings, in all of their varieties, that seem to make the news every day. In many ways, his stories are the antidotes to the “If it bleeds it leads” approach that seems the typical modus operandi of the purveyors of the news. But that has always been true with the news. It tends, more often than not, to reveal the dark sides of our human behavior. The seeming presumption being that the good nature of human behavior is boring. But Steve Hartman has been commissioned to find those simple, compelling stories about that part of our human character that show us that our “better nature” is rooted in the deeper desires to seek and to do the good, or to come to the aid of those in need.
Truth be told, stories like the one you will see here in this video happen more often than not; they just don’t get the attention that those stories about the negative sides of human behavior seem to get. These stories that Steve Hartman finds and records for us always bring a smile, or a tear of recognition; they cheer the soul.
One day this past summer, Washington, D.C. was hit by an unexpected and torrential rain event. The morning, as you will see, started with bright, cloudless skies, but in the afternoon the rains came and fell at such a rate that flash flooding occurred in parts of the Capital. This is where this story begins.
A young woman driving her car misjudged the depth of the water on the street she was driving on. She hit the deep water so hard that it tore the license plate off of the front of the car and, of course, the car stalled in the middle of the deep water. She began praying when out of the curtain of rain ahead of her came a sight she could never have expected.
She suddenly recognized that Marines in their dress blues coming through the water to help get her and others out of the flood waters.
The Marines who came to her aid that day were from one of the most elite units in the United States Marine Corps. They are known as the Marine Body Bearers. I have written about them and what they do for this site before. If you haven’t heard about them, you may have seen them carrying out their duties at Arlington National Cemetery in person, or on news film. Their job is to bear the bodies of fellow Marines to their final resting places at Arlington. Their motto is: “The Last To Let You Down.”
Marine Body Bearers take very seriously their role and duty to give the final honors to the Marines that they bear. Because of this, their training, their demeanor, their skills, and their commitment to the fallen is profoundly focused. You will see some of that here in Hartman’s “On The Road” piece. He has covered them before too.
As you will see here in this video, these Marines are as humble as they are strong in both body and character. Their purpose and role is about as serious and important as they come, as it deals with the last honors to be given to a Marine and his or her family. They practice and prepare physically for their job daily. They have to be of about the same height and they have to be strong enough to bear the casket at almost shoulder level (a practice that is unique to this Marine unit). Their uniforms are meticulous, their Marine demeanor is precise, dignified, and respectful. In carrying out these seemingly simple duties, they help give the final honors to the Marines that they bear, their families, and the Marine Corps.
I will let the video tell the rest of the story. Enjoy.Whizzco