California designates 'Semper Fi Highway'

Brig. Gen. Carl B. Jensen (left), California Assemblyman Jay La Seur and Congressman Duncan Hunter unveil the Semper Fi Highway at a formal dedication ceremony here at the Miramar Officers' Club July 2, 2004. Photo by: Cpl. Paul Leicht California designates 'Semper Fi Highway'

Submitted by: MCAS Miramar
Story Identification #: 200478192817
Story by Cpl. Paul Leicht


Thank you to Colonel John Gunn, USMC (Ret.) gunns@bellsouth.net for sending us this story.

MARINE CORPS AIR STATION MIRAMAR, Calif.(July 8, 2004) --
Marines past and present now have a stretch of American highway that they can call their own that honors their sacrifices and commemorates the contributions of the Marine Corps.

In a formal dedication ceremony at the Miramar Officers' Club July 2, Brig. Gen. Carl B. Jensen, commanding general MCAS Miramar, and dozens of guests and dignitaries joined California Assemblyman Jay La Seur and House Armed Services Chairman Duncan Hunter in the unveiling of the new sign announcing the "Semper Fi Highway" for the stretch of I-15 between Highway 163 and Miramar Road.

In designating the portion of the I-15, La Seur's Assembly Concurrent Resolution 121 recognizes the "positive impact" MCAS Miramar has had on California's economy and the Marine Corps' great service to America.

"This is not about politics," said La Seur. "It is about the Marines today."

After lauding one of the ceremony's honored guests, Medal of Honor recipient, retired Maj. Robert J. Modrzejewski, the new commanding general for Marine Corps Air Bases Western Area celebrated La Seur's efforts.

"We would not be here today if it were not for the tremendous efforts of Assemblyman La Seur who has done so much to make this happen," said Jensen.

"I know there are many of you who have worked tirelessly with him to bring this great cause to fruition. This genuinely means a lot. Every time a Marine or a Marine family takes a look at (the Semper Fi Highway sign) they will be filled with pride. It is a representative of the close relationship with the San Diego community and the surrounding area, and I look forward to building upon that here at Miramar. We are very honored by this and what you have done."

La Seur, an Army veteran who entered politics after a 31-year career in law enforcement, expressed great appreciation for the Marine Corps during the ceremony.

"Throughout the world today the Marine Corps is in every port and every land to make the presence of the United States known, making sure that we remain free," expounded the Assemblyman from La Mesa. "The Marines are known, for their ferocity in battle and they have lost some Marines. That's part of what this is for. But I will tell you this; they have taken a terrible toll on our enemies."

La Seur was quick to single out in the audience his former high school teacher who was a Marine at the Chosin Reservoir before delivering lines from an anonymous poem to honor those who have given us our freedoms.

"It is the Marine, not the reporter, that has given us Freedom of the Press," read La Seur. "It is the Marine, not the poet, who has given us Freedom of Speech. It is the Marine, not the campus organizer, who has given us the right to demonstrate. It is the Marine, who salutes the flag, who serves beneath the flag, and whose coffin is draped by the flag, who allows the protester to burn our flag."

Both Hunter and La Seur hope that anyone driving through the Miramar community will salute their Marine neighbors for being America's "finest citizens."

"Every person that drives by Marine Corps Air Station Miramar (along I-15) will see that they are driving on the 'Semper Fi Highway,'" said La Seur. "They'll know that they are passing by the home of 'The Few, The Proud, The Marines!' God bless our Marines and God bless America."

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