Veteran pays tribute to proud Marine Corps history[MIGRATE]

By Lance Cpl. Cristina Noelia Gil | May 15, 2009

As our nation celebrates Military Appreciation Month throughout the month of May, grateful citizens have been finding ways to say ‘thank you’ to the men and women of the U.S. Armed Forces.

One local musician, Keith Haugen, uses his songwriting talent to pay tribute to our nation’s heroes and events that have left a lasting impression on the hearts and minds of many Americans.

Having come from a family of veterans and being a veteran of the U.S. Army, Haugen knows firsthand the sacrifices service members make in the name of freedom.

With his latest commemorative recording, “Whisper ‘Semper Fi’ – The Ballad of the Leatherneck,” Haugen honors the service the Marine Corps has provided the nation for more than two centuries.

The recording tells the story of a Marine veteran and the traditions the Corps holds dear. It is narrated by one of Hawaii’s own heroes, U.S. Senator Daniel K. Inouye, an Army veteran and recipient of the Medal of Honor.

“Over the years, I’ve had many close friends who were or are Marines. I’ve always had great respect for everyone who serves in the Armed Forces, but especially the Marines,” said Haugen. “To me, the Marines represent the best fighting men and women in our great country and in the world.”

Haugen’s initial idea was to produce the recording as a CD and give a copy to every Marine in Hawaii. As the U.S. economy began to decline, the underwriter for the project could no longer follow through with that plan.

That would not stop the patriotic songwriter from ensuring his tribute to Leathernecks around the world does not go unheard.

“When that seemed impossible, giving the recording of five patriotic and military-related songs to everyone seemed like an even better idea,” Haugen said. “In retrospect, I’m glad that it worked out this way. I think a much larger number of people will hear the song and, I hope, remember someone who served who might otherwise have been forgotten.”

The song, along with album art and extra tracks by Haugen and other musicians, including his wife, Carmen, son, Stanton and local musician Pierre Grill, can be downloaded for free on Haugen’s website.

The recording is not for sale anywhere and can be downloaded at

“We’re hoping that every Marine, soldier, sailor, airman, coastguardsman, veteran and American patriot will accept this gift from us during Military Appreciation Month. It’s just our way of saying ‘thanks’ to all of them.”