Family of Marines in Port Byron celebrates Veterans Day

PORT BYRON, Illinois - On the 242nd birthday of the United States Marine Corps, one Port Byron family has extra reason to celebrate. 

Local 4 introduces you to the Carter family -- and explains why this day is so special. 

"He used to take them out of school to go run," said Charles Carter, former Marine. "I'm like, I like to run, too."

On the surface, the Carters may seem like any ordinary family. But one look at their resumes would show an unlikely commonality.

"Nobody was giving me a job," said David Carter, former Marine. "Every place I went, they wanted experience. If you can't get a job, you can't get experience." 

So in 1975, David Carter made the choice to join the Marine Corps as a 20-year old. He says that choice changed his life for the better. 

"Structure has been great, and it's been the forethought, not only in my life, but in my children's lives," David said. "Because, they know you have to have some type of structure."

Structure, something David's children say they received at an early age. 

Discipline, and tenacity, and persistence, and strength, and courage," said Laura Marie Harwell, former Marine.  "That was instilled in us very early on." 

That structure led Laura, and two more of David's children, to the Marine Corps themselves. 

"Growing up, I would say until about 8 or 10, I was like, 'Yeah I want to be a Marine just like my dad,'" said David Carter, Jr.. 

David Carter Jr.'s Marine journey was cut short after five years because of health reasons. Still, he says he doesn't regret his time.

"Yeah, it's hard," David Jr. said. "But, anything worth having is going to be hard. But, it was the best 5 1/2 years."

The same thoughts are echoed by David Sr.'s third child to enter the marines, Charles, who credits the USMC for turning him into the person he is.

"I wouldn't have my little girl, who I love right now," said Charles Carter. "And, I probably wouldn't be where I'm at right now. So, I have no regrets."

Neither does David Sr., who looks back on he and his wife's humble beginnings with pride.

"It was only two of us, me and my wife," David Sr. said. "Now, I've got grandchildren, I've got four children here, and it just makes me feel proud."

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