|"The tribute of deeds has been paid in part; for the dead have them in deeds, and it remains only that their children should be maintained at the public charge until they are grown up: this is the solid prize with which, as with a garland, Athens crowns her sons living and dead."
- Thucydides, Pericles' Funeral Oration
Thank you for considering those who shoulder our nation's heaviest wartime burden: the children of our fallen warriors.
We have established this scholarship fund in the name of two extraordinary men, Marine Majors Doug Zembiec and Ramon Mendoza, whose courageous service is emblematic of America's heart. Zembiec and Mendoza were many things: Champion collegiate wrestlers, company commanders of the same unit (Echo, 2/1), true warriors who relentlessly pushed to the front of their units during firefights, and close friends. They were also fathers. The three young children they left behind are among the hundreds of children whose sacrifice must never be forgotten.
On overseas bases the world over, children dominate the thoughts of our parents-in-uniform. Most would prefer their service be rewarded through their children. And we believe the best way to do that is by providing for the schooling of these very special youngsters.
There are no expenses associated with this scholarship. Each 501(c)(3) tax-deductible dollar you donate goes directly toward the education of needy sons and daughters of Marines and corpsmen. The average scholarship recipient's family income is $38,000, less than tuition, room, and board for a single year at Harvard. They need our help.
Doug and Ray are warrior legends within the tiny military community that is standing guard for the rest of us. While America's tastes have changed with regard to the public celebration of our combat heroes, its need to cultivate such men and women has never been greater.
There are many worthy causes in the world. But just as our military volunteers embrace their dangerous duty, so should America uphold its duty to insulate the children of its guardians. Thank you for doing your part.
Owen and Susanne West
New York, New York
Please read this Wall Street Journal Op-Ed to learn more about Ray and Doug.
Donate to this scholarship
Ray and Doug carring a cross to the top of a California hill to memorialize Marines killed in action (Courtesy of John Griffin)
Owen and Susanne West
Todd and Karen Biever
Susanne running the 2007 USMC Marathon in honor of Ray and Doug