Today, I was reminded of the words of the 26th Commandant of the United States Marine Corps on our 240th birthday:
“In the last analysis, what the Marine Corps becomes is what we make of it during our respective watches. And the watch of each Marine is not confined to the time he spends on active duty. It lasts as long as he is proud to bear the title of United States Marine.”
Gen. Louis H. Wilson
Sixteen years ago, during my third year in art school I decided to join the Unites States Marine Corps. If ever there was someone who was less likely to join the Corps, it had to have been me. None the less, I woke up one morning determined to become a Marine and only hours later was in my recruiter’s office signing away the next years of my life. Everyone thought I was nuts. I was told that I would never make, I was simply not strong enough- words that rang in my ears during my month’s at Parris Island, South Carolina.
When I crossed the parade deck as a United States Marine, I was no longer the person that I had once been. Many people look back on their lives and think about what the most important moment was, what their greatest catalyst for change was. For me, for the last 16 years I have known that answer. The day I became a Marine was the day I changed my life. It was the day that I became confident in myself, the day I learned how strong I really was. That day I learned to love myself and be proud of who I am. I learned who I really was and am. Although my time serving in the Corps was brief, the United States Marine Corps taught me so much that I carry with me each and every day of my life. I am where I am today because I served my country proudly. Today and till my last day on this earth I will proudly and confidently call myself a United States Marine.
Today is the 240th birthday of the Corps and we are also quickly approaching Veterans Day. If you are a service member or veteran, thank you for serving our country. If you are not- for Pete’s sake, go hug a Marine (or other service member!) We don’t bite and although we may not say it, we do appreciate the recognition- remember serving our country in the Armed Services is not just a job, it is a duty we carry forever.
Oooh rah Marines! Happy Birthday and Semper Fi.
Lcpl Kathy Paz (Craddock)