This commercial was released nearly 20 years ago, but it still gets people talking every year around this time. The 1997 commercial, titled “Toys for Tots - Guard Duty,” depicts a young boy walking up to a Marine on guard duty. The boy innocently approaches the big, tough Marine and asks if he's Santa Claus.
Initially, the Marine ignores the little boy, standing in rigid attention and staring straight ahead.
Then, the boy pulls out his Christmas list in the hopes that the Marine, whom he's still convinced is Santa, will take it from him and get him those gifts.
After a quick pause, the Marine silently unfolds his hand and takes the list.
The United States Marine Corps is known and respected worldwide. The Marines represent some of America's best soldiers and have been the decisive force in countless battles with their awe-inspiring bravery, toughness, and determination. To think, however, that the battlefield is the sole extent of a Marine's duties would just be plain wrong.
The Toys for Tots program is possibly my favorite aspect of what the Marines do. It started in 1947 when U.S.M.C.R. Major Bill Hendricks decided to provide toys to the less fortunate children in his community so that they too could enjoy the holidays.
In the span of a few short years, the program had expanded beyond his wildest dreams. Since then, the Toys for Tots program has distributed over 494 million toys to more than 230 million children, which is just a beautiful thing.
If you've got a Toys for Tots drive in your community, I strongly encourage everyone to give a little joy this season to someone who may not have otherwise had any.