“Three score & 11.5 years ago I first arrived at MCRD PISC (Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island, SC) where a nice DI (drill instructor) welcomed us to his island and invited us off the bus to please stand on the yellow footprints — in his own vocal way! As I stood there shocked at the cruel joke I had played on myself, little did I know that I was in for the most life-changing experience of my young life. I was being introduced to the world’s largest, strongest family of brothers, the United States Marines,” Bolin said, going on to talk of a special connection he made with one particular fellow Marine. “I bonded with my bunkmate and friend, Leland Stanford Cox III.”
Bolin and Cox (known in local circles as Walton County attorney Stan Cox) said their goodbyes at the end of the training as they boarded the bus for deployment to Vietnam. Cox gave Bolin a photograph of himself to keep and they went their separate ways. Cox went on to become a captain in the Marines before returning stateside and settling down in Walton County to practice law.
“I‘ve thought of Stan many times over the years and decided, last year, 50 years was long enough and wrote my friend a long overdue, loving letter,” Bolin said. “Months passed and I thought, sadly, my friend had forgotten me and moved on with life. I had kept up with Stan and knew he was a lawyer, still in Georgia, and was, by all appearances, successful.”
What Bolin didn’t know at that time was that his fellow Marine wanted very much to respond, but just didn’t know what to say. He shared the letter with the two legal secretaries in his office, Brittany Harper Adcock and Wendy Cantrell Fields.
“Stan read his letter multiple times and would write back but could not find the right words to say to him,” Adcock said. “He would sit down and dictate a letter for us ladies in the office to type up to send back to Mr. Bolin, but he never could find the right words. We would write a few sentences, reread the letter his friend sent, tell old Vietnam stories then brush it to the side… and repeat.”
Adcock said this had gone on for months. So they decided to do something about it and a surprise reunion was set in motion. The letter had the contact information they needed and they phoned Bolin and asked him if he would be prepared to travel to Walton County and surprise Cox for his 75th birthday. An emotional Bolin told them he wouldn’t miss it for the world.
“Last Friday, Mr. Bolin and his wife, Sue Bolin, drove three or more hours from south Georgia to meet Stan after 51.5 years.” Below is a video of the surprise, and emotional, reunion.
Adcock said Cox did not have to say anything at all. The look on his face said it all.