Wednesday, October 2, 2013

An Honorary Semper Fi to Tom Clancy

   In the last pages of Tom Clancy’s Debt of Honor, a 747 is crashed into the Capital Building just as the President addresses a joint session of Congress and nominates Jack Ryan to be his new Vice President. Ryan and his family barely escape being killed, but the president, most of Congress and the rest of the top level of the federal government die in the ensuing inferno. In the chaos that follows, the Secret Service addresses Ryan as “Mr. President” and he realizes he is now the new leader of the United States. Before he even begins to deal with the attack and his new responsibilities, his immediate concern is more personal:
   “What about my family?” he demanded, now seeing the orange pyre that had been the centerpiece of America’s government only four minutes earlier. “Oh, my God ...”
   “We’ll take them to... to...”
   “Take them to the Marine Barracks at Eighth and I streets. I want Marines around them now, okay?” Later, Ryan would remember that his first presidential order was something from his own past.
   Unlike the movies based on them, in Clancy’s books Ryan was a Marine Platoon Commander for a brief period before injuries cut his military career short. Clancy has said on several occasions that Ryan was his alter-ego, so I think its only fitting that we send him off into the great unknown with an honorary “Semper Fi!”

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