Guarding the gates of heaven

There is something about our nation that overshadows the normal compliment of being  a human . From small towns and huge metropolis settings, as well as every place in between our children step up, and do the things that need to be done. Many spend a great deal of time complaining about this or that generation, saying that it is lost, or other derogatory things. I say that we Americans have had, and will always have our share of the finest people that have ever lived.

From the halls of Montezuma, to the shores of Tripoli,
We fight our country’s battles in the air, on land and sea.
First to fight for right and freedom, and to keep our honor clean;
We are proud to claim the title of United States Marine.

Our Flag’s unfurled to every breeze from dawn to setting sun.
We have fought in every clime and place, where we could take a gun.
In the snow of far off northern lands and in sunny tropic scenes,
You will find us always on the job, the United States Marines.

Here’s health to you and to our Corps, which we are proud to serve.
In many a strife we’ve fought for life and never lost our nerve.
If the Army and the Navy ever look on heaven’s scenes,
They will find the streets are guarded by United States Marines.

Marine left his imprint on Creede

Athlete, prom king died in Iraq combat Tuesday


Ahlquist enjoyed the cowboy life in adopted town.

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Clint Ahlquist grew up a cowboy who wanted to flee the palm trees and bright lights of Scottsdale, Ariz., for a place that fit him better.He found Creede at 16, moved in with a cousin and graduated in 2003 from high school in the southwest Colorado mountain town of barely 400. He wrote down Creede as his hometown when he joined the Marines.

On Tuesday, Ahlquist, 23, a sergeant who had re-enlisted in Iraq, was killed in combat.

“He called us Sunday,” said Barbara Ahlquist, his mother, from Scottsdale. “It was just a typical call. He told us he loved us and he missed us and he was fighting for our right to be free.”

“We just know he was a dedicated, dedicated Marine. He loved and believed in what he was doing,” she said. “He always wanted to be a soldier.”

Creede claims the strapping young man – 6-foot-2 and 225 lean pounds – as one of its own. He is remembered as a boy who blossomed in his class of 10, started on the basketball team, did his duty as a student and charmed his way to prom king.

“He had great manners, and he took time to talk to people,” said Frances Kolisch, the librarian at Creede High School who became the teenager’s surrogate mother while he dated her daughter, Karly.

Kolisch said Ahlquist left his beloved blue heeler dog, Grinchy, in their care when he left for the Marines.

An only child whose grandparents had introduced him to country life and Colorado, Ahlquist moved to Creede to start his sophomore year at Creede High.

“He was very gregarious, outgoing, quick with a smile,” said Buck Stroh, the district superintendent. “He was someone the kids and teachers all gravitated to, right from the start.

“Clinton just seemed to adapt to Creede, like he’d been waiting for a town like this,” Stroh said. “If you met him, you would have thought he came from Creede all his life, not Scottsdale.”

When Clint Ahlquist’s cousin planned to move, Barbara and Rex Ahlquist, the teenager’s parents, bought a home in Creede where their son could live until they retired.

“Every time we talked to him, he told us how happy he was in Creede, so we finally bought the house there,” Barbara Ahlquist said.

“He was a cowboy, and he fit in in the small town. Scottsdale is not a real cowboy town.”

Barbara Ahlquist said her son will have a military funeral and burial in Arizona, probably within the next two weeks.

Creede also plans to hold its own tribute to Clint Ahlquist, perhaps a memorial service of some kind, but not just yet.

The town is still grieving the death of girls basketball coach Walter Martinez, who died Feb. 4 in an avalanche while snowmobiling.

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