Forty-eight years ago today, on November 3rd, 1964 (Election Day), I graduated from Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island, SC and earned the title “Marine.” Nothing has come close to that for defining and changing my life.
Eight years later, on November 7, 1972, the year I graduated from college, I was elected to the Massachusetts State Senate for the first of five terms, before I got sick of politics and retired undefeated in 1982. I won a 4-1 Democrat district, which last elected a Republican in 1938. The last town to come in, Shirley, put me ahead by nine votes at 6:30 AM on the 8th, out of 60,000+ votes cast. (I won the recount by 126, thankfully, or as the Senate President told me, the Senate Democrats would likely have tossed ten of my votes on technicalities and seated the incumbent anyway.) That, too, changed my life, but not as much, and I am far prouder of the title “Marine” than of “Senator.”
The third key date was 20 years ago, when I married Bonnie Marie on September 5th, 1992. Like joining the USMC, or running for the Senate in what everyone thought was a hopeless race, that life change was also a very good decision.