Saturday, August 18, 2007

If I say I didn't understand now I understand better

Whoa this is good!



Mystery Marine Poet Revealed,2933,293615,00.html

The mystery Marine who touched the hearts of hundreds of thousands with his YouTube patriotic poem has come forward.

He is 30-year-old Marine Staff Sgt. Lawrence E. Dean II, stationed at the Cherry Point base in North Carolina. The Conway, S.C., native writes and performs rap-style poetry using the stage name "Life." And he is known all over North Carolina, where he is an inspiration to countless friends and strangers alike.

When the YouTube video of Dean reciting the poem he wrote about defending America's freedom garnered close to 400,000 views in just two days earlier this week, he decided to reveal his identity and speak to

"It almost leaves you speechless," he said on Wednesday of the reaction to his poetry. "Just to see it affected that many people — if it made that many people think, it was worth every bit of that three minutes. It wasn't about me solely. It pretty much said what we live. It's touching people the way I intended it to."

Dean, who works on aviation electronics for the Marines, has never served in Afghanistan or Iraq, though he said he'd go "this second" if asked. But the poem he wrote — which begins, "And she called …" — isn’t about the experience of fighting a war. It's about what the armed forces do.

"It's about the military service and the reason we do things," he explained. "We just defend the country, no questions asked. As a family, we do it. The poem was just utmost admiration and respect for the individuals that are there. ... They've answered the country's call."

He was compelled to write the poem about two-and-a-half years ago, he said, when his grandmother asked him one day what would make him go to war.

"The answer I can give is just, 'Because she called,'" said Dean, referring to America. "That was the best answer I could give that day."

But he was also deeply affected by a visit to Ground Zero, where the Twin Towers once stood in lower Manhattan and where all that's left is a vast, gaping pit. In his poem, he refers to "911 distress signal" the United States sent from the World Trade Center site on Sept. 11, 2001.

"TV doesn't do it any justice," he said. "It came about from being there and seeing the magnitude. It wasn't your front yard or your school or where your parents came from. When you see Ground Zero, you realize these are actual people. This could have been your neighborhood."

The Marine Corps, where Dean has built his career for the past 12 years, has been amazed at the response to the poetry reading of one of their own.

"All the Marines I know who have seen the video have been very impressed by it," said Mike Barton, the deputy director of Cherry Point's joint public affairs office. "We're waiting to see what happens next."

The video that ultimately wound up on YouTube was shot spontaneously about a year ago, when a young Marine whose room Dean was inspecting asked him to recite his poem on camera so that he could send it to his family to explain why he was going off to war.

Dean never intended for it to be posted on the Internet — and isn't sure who first put the clip up last year (the user's screen name is studman20673), though he guesses it was the young Marine who filmed him. He didn't even know the video had been on YouTube until he read about it on

The clip was picked up by Birmingham, Ala., resident Matthew Denton, who put it on his own YouTube page. Denton was so inspired by Dean's poem that he did what he could to track him down — with no luck, until Tuesday, when the two finally had the chance to speak on the phone.

Poetry and music have been Dean's passions for years.

"That's what I do when I'm not at work," he said.

And many have been moved to tears by the words Dean wrote that day his grandmother challenged him to explain why he serves his country.

"She called," Dean says in the videotaped poem as he stands before a U.S. Marine Corps crest hanging on the barracks wall. "From the bowels of Ground Zero/she sent this 911 distress signal/because she was in desperate need of a hero/and didn’t have time to decipher what to call 'em/so she called 'em all her children/and said, 'I am America, and I’m calling on the land of the free.'/So they answered ... /You see, someone attempted to choke the voice/of the one who gave us the right for choice/and now she was callin'./And somebody had to answer./Who was going to answer?/So they did."

But it's not only through his writing that Dean — who has an 8-year-old daughter — manages to make an impact on people. It's in his everyday life, according to those who know him.

"Everybody loves him," said one of his close friends in the Marines, who asked not to be identified. "He has got to be the most motivated and inspirational person I have ever met in my life. He speaks from the heart."

As for the response to his poem, well, Dean is uncharacteristically at a loss for words to describe it.

"How do you explain the unexplainable?" he said. "It's a blessing. A lot of people that have to answer that call appreciate it. That's bigger than me."

BAD ASS MARINE words and lyrics

She called...

Blacks, Whites...wait
African Americans and Caucasians, Asians, excuse me.
Vietnamese, Philipenes, Koreans and Jamaicans or
Haitans, waitin' Hispanics y'all.

Please be paitent
Mexican, Puerto Ricans, Venezualean, Cuban, Dominican, Panamanian Democrats
I beg your pardon, you partied with the late, great Reagan?
Republican, Independent, Christian, Catholic,
Methodist, Baptist, 7th Day Adventist, 5 Percenters,
Hindu, Sunii Muslim, Brothers and Sisters who never seen the New York city
skyline when the twin towers still existed.
But still She called.

From the bowels of Ground Zero she sent this 911 distress signal.
Because She was in desperate need of a hero,
and didn't have time to decipher what to call 'em,
so she called 'em all Her children.
The children of the stars and bars who needed to know nothing more than the fact that she called.
The fact that someone attempted to harm us
this daughter who covered us all with her loving arms.
And now these arms are sprawled across New York City streets.
A smoke filled lung, a silt covered faced,
and a solitary tear poured out of her cheek.
Her singed garments carpets Pennsylvania Avenue and the Pentagon was under her feet.
As she began to talk, she began to cough up small particles of debris
and said, "I am America, and I'm calling on the land of the free."
So they answered.

All personal differences set to the side
because right now there was no time to decide which state building the Confederate flag should fly over,
and which trimester the embryo is considered alive,
or on our monetary units, and which God we should confide.
You see, someone attempted to choke the voice
of the one who gave us the right for choice,
and now she was callin.
And somebody had to answer.
Who was going to answer?

So they did.
Stern faces and chisled chins.
Devoted women and disciplined men,
who rose from the ashes like a pheonix
and said "don't worry, we'll stand in your defense."
They tightened up their bootlaces
and said goodbye to loved ones, family and friends.
They tried to bombard them with the "hold on", "wait-a-minute's", and "what-if's".
And "Daddy, where you goin?".
And, "Mommy, why you leavin?".
And they merely kissed them on their foreheads and said "Don't worry, I have my reasons.
You see, to this country I pledged my allegience
to defend it against all enemies foreign and domestic.
So as long as I'm breathin, I'll run though hell-fire,
meet the enemy on the front lines,
look him directly in his face,
stare directly in his eyes and scream,

And if by chance death is my fate,
pin my medals upon my chest,
and throw Old Glory on my grave.
But, don't y'all cry for me.
You see, my Father's prepared a place.
I'll be a part of his Holy army standing a watch at the Pearly Gates.
Because freedom was never free.
POW's, and fallen soldiers
all paid the ultimate sacrifice
along side veterans who put themselves in harms way.
Risking their lives and limbs just to hold up democracy's weight,
but still standing on them broken appendages anytime the National Anthem was played.
You see, these were the brave warriors that gave me the right
to say that I'm Black. Or white.


African American or Caucasian,
I'm Asian, excuse me.
I'm Vietnamese, Philipene, Korean, or Jamaican.
I'm Haitan, Hispanic

Y'all, Please be paitent.
I'm Mexican, Puerto Rican, Venezualean, Cuban,
Dominican, Panamanian, Democrat
I beg your pardon, you see I partied with the late, great Reagan.
I'm Republican, Independent, Christian, Catholic,
Methodist, Baptist, 7th Day Adventist, 5 Percenters,
Hindu, Sunii Muslim,

Brothers and Sisters We're just Americans.
So with that I say
"Thank You" to the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines,
for preserving my rights
to live and die for this life
and paying the ultimate price for me to be...FREE!

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