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OAKWOOD BEACH – STATEN ISLAND, N.Y.
Former Eva Avenue resident and New Dorp High School graduate Nancie Saxton undoubtedly made her Marine-veteran father proud, posthumously, with the publication of her first book, “Poems by Marines in Combat,” last year. And this year, he would have burst his buttons when the 200-page volume received recognition and an award from the Marine Corps Heritage Foundation.
The genesis of the book — a compilation of 100 poems that combat Marines wrote in the period spanning World War I to the Gulf War — tracks back to a former Marine that Miss Saxton dated a decade ago. “He wrote 10 poems while he served in Vietnam, but how do you make a book out of 10 poems?” she asked herself then.
She decided to place advertisements in a few Marine publications, “and the next thing I knew, poems started flying in,” she said.
“The joy of going to the mailbox every day, and finding at least one poem if not more, was indescribable,” Miss Saxton recalled. “The letters that the Marines sent, along with the poems, were so inspiring. I’ve kept every one.”
Miss Saxton’s late father, Richard E. Saxton, served as a sergeant in the Marine Corps during the Korean War, from 1951 to 1953.
His daughter, the youngest of four children, “grew up with stories about the Marines and service to our country,” she said. “I feel like I went through boot camp myself, from all of my father’s stories. My oldest sister, Therese Saxton (who lives in Oakwood), considers us Marine brats.
“Dad was always active with the American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, and the Marine Corps League, and served as commander of the Oakwood VFW Post 9589,” she added. “My grandfather, Samuel Raymond Saxton, was the draftsman for the Oakwood post building.”
Miss Saxton’s father retired to Florida over 25 years ago, and remained active. “He was quartermaster for VFW Post 5690 in Port Charlotte, and paymaster for the Marine Corps League for the state of Florida,” she said.
Miss Saxton, who now lives in Port Charlotte, is a member of Post 254 of the American Legion Ladies Auxiliary in Northport, Fla., and a member of American Legion Riders, Post 103, in Punta Gorda.
The award from the Marine Corps Heritage Foundation came with an invitation to Marine Corps Base Quantico in northern Virginia for a black-tie dinner at the Marine Corps National Museum.
“I was more thrilled to be invited to visit Quantico than I was for getting the award!” Miss Saxton confessed.
Her future plans include a second book — this one a collection of poetry from those who have served in all the branches of the U.S. armed forces.
“Poems by Marines in Combat” can be ordered on here as an eBook download for $4.
In North Port Monday they were paying tribute to those who served, and thanking a local woman who has combined two things you might not have thought went together: poetry and the Marines, in their own words.
Created by Marine Corps veteran’s daughter Nancie Saxton
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Nancie Saxton received dozens of poems from marines across the nation who fought in combat. This unforgettable compilation touches the soul and gives an inspirational look at what it was like for those who fought for our freedom. For her work, Nancie Saxton received the 2011 Robert A. Gannon Award through the Marine Corps Heritage Foundation. On Saturday, April 16, 2011, Nancie was honored at the National Museum of the Marine Corps in Triangle, VA.
“Poems by Marines in Combat” is a collection of poems written by Marines while in combat from World War I through to the Gulf War. Most poems are intense, some are whimsical. They really give you a better feeling of what our troops go through.
Review 1: “Many of the poems from World War I through The Gulf War are intense, others are whimsical”. — The Charlotte Tribune