Should Your Son or Daughter Join The Marine Corps?
My Personal Journey:
I was raised in a small town in the Mid-West. My life growing up consisted of sports, friends and a sense that I’d be living in that small town for the rest of my life. I loved the smell of freshly cut grass. I loved the fact that I knew every single person in my high school class. You couldn’t go to the store without seeing someone who not only knows you well, but knows your family well. I was happy. I had everything I ever needed. Family, friends and a sense of security. It was a good life.
I was just like the rest of my friends. We did everything together and felt we would all raise our kids together. I just had one problem. I felt I was meant for something bigger. Something bigger than myself and certainly bigger than the small town I grew up in.
The first book I ever read on my own was about Force Recon Marines that operated almost completely on their own behind enemy lines in Vietnam. I was captivated. It all sounded so exciting to me. There’s no greater bond than the bond forged in combat. I couldn’t get enough of their stories. Yes, those men saw horror that men shouldn’t see, and some of those men had nightmares for the rest of their lives, but they came out of it with something that only a select few people realize in life. The Bond. To me, as a kid, the patriotism and the protection of this great country was worth it, and I wanted that bond.
After four years of successful service in the Marine Corps Infantry and an Honorable discharge, I got out and moved on. The Marine Corps changed my life. The men that I served with changed my life. There’s not a day goes by that I don’t think about my service as a Marine. It taught me everything I needed to be the best man I can be. I can honestly say, without that experience, I would be a lesser man. My wife, my co-workers and my kids all benefit from those years without knowing the extent of how much it changed me.
There were bad times. In fact, the majority of my four years, I was miserable. But, as the years go by and the longer I’m out, the better those “bad” times seem to be. All I remember about the bad times is the laughter and the camaraderie. Sometimes it was so bad that we had to laugh to keep ourselves sane. And now, that’s all I remember. I don’t remember the specifics of why those times were bad, all I remember is the laughter. I’m sure some of the young Marines today returning from combat, missing limbs, have a different perspective, but I hope that as the years go by, they too will start to realize the good things that being a Marine has given them.