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Laura Kessel is managing editor of The News-Herald in Willoughby. She writes a weekly column and shares her thoughts here.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

This really is a nice hotel ...

... but I'd really rather be anywhere else in the world.

The effects of this nasty winter storm haven't eased up in the South, and now I have to worry about this white stuff falling outside my hotel room window in Middleburg Heights.

Lots of flight cancelations have left about 25 of us sitting in the hotel going through "classes" put on by the Marine recruiters who work around Northeast Ohio. They're a simply terrific bunch of young men who know their jobs and can discuss for hours the opportunities available to our nation's young people.

Below is Major Greg Jones discussing his limitations to get educators to their destination in Parris Island, S.C.

Did you know there's major opportunity if you can play a musical instrument? Neither did I!

If you can pass the audition and get through boot camp, you'll be part of the Marine Corps Band. There are actually 12 different bands with 700 musicians who have all gone through the Armed Forces School of Music.

Those who attend can become conductors, drum majors, instrument repair technicians or musicians, all while gaining credits toward a college degree.

But, according to Staff Sgt. Joshua Rowe, who is in charge of the Marine Corps recruiting office in Lakewood, don't think that just because you play a mean air guitar or score high on XBox that you can hack the Marine Corps Band.

See Rowe discuss his goals as a recruiter for the U.S. Marine Corps. He is stationed at the Lakewood recruiting office.

No, it's reserved for the nation's elite musicians. That is, elite musicians who are ready to serve their country and fire an M-16.

If you've ever had any inkling that you'd like to serve, these are the guys you want to talk with. They're honest about the opportunities that are out there, and willing to spare those who might not be able to hack it the humiliation of coming home without success.

But, here's hoping we have some success tomorrow as we try for one final time to actually leave Cleveland and head off to Parris Island to see our area's Marine recruits in action.


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