Congratulations to Mike Pisecki, a long time customer and cigar lounge member, on winning our Father’s Day tribute to Rush Limbaugh contest.
Here is Mike’s essay.
The summer of 1997 was a pivotal time in my Marine Corps career. I had been on recruiting duty for 15 months and started reaping all the benefits of the long arduous hours of what I called prospecting for future Marines to fill our proud ranks. The recruiting years are based off the fiscal calendar which starts and ends on October 1st, so at the time there was about 3 months left for the recruiting year. I mention these details because I was in the running to be one of the top 3 recruiters in the United States.
You would think, that finding myself in such a rewarding situation, that would be what made the year so memorable? This was the year that I got the distinct pleasure and honor of speaking with the Great Rush Limbaugh. I was driving down McHenry Ave in my nostalgic 1995 Chevy Corsica government vehicle, the avenue that was known to be cruised by George Lucas, and the spot that gave birth to the iconic cult classic movie, American Graffiti, when Rush Limbaugh's radio show was kicking off another insightful segment. The topic of the segment was based on intangible traits such as honor, respect, poise, professionalism etc.. possessed by, or their lack of, the youth of the time.
To my surprise, Rush was challenging that if the parents of the day failed at instilling these types of traits in their rearing style, that it seemed impossible that the military could overcome such shortfalls in character in such a short amount of time, during initial training, otherwise known as boot camp. You have to understand that I was a young 26 year old Marine recruiter basing my career, and sells pitch, on that very fact.
The time had finally come, I got to utter the words to Rush that I thought would never happen, "Good morning Rush, my name is Sergeant Mike Pisecki, I am a long-time listener, first time caller." I considered myself a silver tongued devil, but I remember feeling nervous about speaking with Rush and possibly stumbling over my words. After all, I was calling in to challenge the opinion of one of the most respected voices on public radio.
I was pulled over on the side of the road, turned up the AC in the govy to keep from sweating out my dress Deltas, and proceeded to deliver a perfectly orchestrated argument to the contrary. As a professional representative of the Marine Corps, I only spoke on behalf of the Marine Corps. I used personal examples of my, at the time, short recruiting career, to explain to Rush, that the young people that I was sending away for 3 months of training, did indeed come back changed. Individuals that lacked certain traits that are important to future success, were now present. The honor, courage, commitment, camaraderie, pride of belonging, self-discipline, poise, respect and leadership was just oozing from these young Marines pores. You could smell the confidence, you could feel the enthusiasm, and you could hear the gratitude, not only from the Marine, but also from their parents and family.
The Marine Corps doesn't give an individual these traits, the Marine Corps uncovers these traits and polishes them. Every Marine recruit has to show enough potential to make it through basic training, and their is no argument that, the potential came from their parents. As a very successful Marine recruiter, if I didn't see that potential, I had to make the hard call and disqualify the applicant for service in the Marines.
At the end of my rant Rush admitted that he was enlightened and proud to know, that the Marine Corps does indeed live up to its motto, "The Few, The Proud, The Marines."
"Many people go an entire lifetime wondering whether or not they made a difference, Marines don't have that problem." - Ronald Reagan.
Thank you Rush for all of your years of commitment to keeping your public informed on the politics of the day your words of wisdom will go down in history, you will be missed. I hope you found a cigar lounge in heaven.