The reasons why some young Americans have chosen to become
United States Marines
As told by their mothers, fathers, wives, and other loved ones
…The Marines was the only branch of the military that didn't try to buy him.
… My son said that he wanted to be a Marine to serve his Country. His recruiter told me that it is a rare thing to hear a recruit give that reason anymore. While I know that the military will take care of him and give him reason to be proud, I also know that it will cause him frustration, misery, and heartache. I also know that he will become a better person because of it.
…Why do they do it? The reasons are as varied as the men and women themselves.
…My son wanted to be a Marine for several reasons. Some of them were to defend what he feels is a great nation. He also felt that other nations deserved our help when they couldn't do their fighting alone. He chose the Marines because they are the best. He agreed that it was kind of a "calling" if you will.
…Our son told us since when he was six years old that he was going to be a Marine. I have no idea where it came from. Through junior high and his first two years in high school he was picked on because he was short and chubby. The kids would laugh when he would talk about becoming a Marine. They were convinced it would never happen. Now he is six foot one and carries himself with such pride and confidence. Who’s laughing now?
…Maybe he just wants an experience of direction, discipline. In today’s world, a kid is highly respected for his/her decision to go military when others are loafing around from job to menial job, and growing to be 28 and still in your house….
...From a marine wife / marine mom: My husband would have told you....your son just wanted to be one of the best!
…I asked my son to help me understand the "whys" of joining the Marines (of all the scariest things he could/has done to date). Of course, I was able to pooh-pooh every reason. Some are actually laughable! I read it often as a reminder of his decision although I still struggle to understand. I really doubt I ever will. But, as his mother, I support him. The following are her son’s words written to this mom as to why he wants to be a Marine: 1) I’ll have a ton of pride; 2) It will ready me for a police officer position when I return to civilian life; 3) I’m giving back to God and my country; 4) It IS an honorable thing to do; 5) I’ll be in the best shape of my life; 6) I’m glad we took Saddam out of power and that we are trying to fix the middle east; they (our military) need help; 7) My grandpa’s were in the military; 8) Freedom Isn’t Free; 9) They’ll make me a man; 10) There are no negatives in my eyes 11) Kids and citizens will look up to me; 12) I want a sword and to use large guns and grenades; 13) The Marines have the best looking uniforms; 14) I don’t want to sit around while people my own age are fighting a fight that I can easily help out with; 15) I’ll learn martial arts; 16) I’ll make life long friends; 17) I don’t want to get too old and one day say, “I wish I would have followed my gut.” You have to be tough to be a Marine and I think he was trying to prove it to himself that he could do it.
…Some of their reasons are very personal or feelings that they cannot put into words.
…My son joined the Marines because it gave him Purpose, Education, and a Direction in his young life that most 18 year olds don't have. College wasn't for him; trade school just seemed like more stuff. I asked him that question, "Why?" He said, "If I don't, who will?" He said, "Americans stand behind the flag, Mom, I want to stand in front of it. I want to keep those fu.... terrorists so busy over there that they won't have time to bomb my home again." My son joined the Marines for me!! I thank God everyday and I surround him in prayer. Doubt the doubt... fear not for God has a plan for your son.
…My son doesn't look forward to going to war but does so willingly because he'd rather keep the fight over there than have them bring it to our shores where it could be his family caught in the middle. He was deeply moved by September 11, although he doesn't feel a vengeance, but he does feel we need to stand up to anyone who would seek to destroy our country or her people. He has read enough and researched enough to believe that if our military isn't successful and our government waivers in its stance to defeat terrorism, then we're in for unimaginable trouble as the terrorists will see it as a victory and they will continue to step up their agenda to rid the world of what they call, infidels -- basically everyone who isn't Muslim. Therefore, he is ready to do his part to stop these radicals -- just as it took many brave young men to stop Hitler and his desire to rid the world of those he labeled undesirable. In addition to all of this, my son wanted to do something to make himself proud and for us to be proud of him (something we've always been). He didn't want to be the status quo like most of the kids he'd gone to school with or even the older crowd he knew who just lived from day to day with no real purpose or direction in their lives . . . he could see how easy it would be to fall into that same trap, so the Marine Corps was a way to set himself apart from the crowd. He is very proud of what he's accomplished and the man he's becoming and he knows the Corps has helped him to be the person he is today -- his eyes have been opened to so much that he probably would've continued to take for granted or just simply overlooked if he'd stayed home.
…I'm sure it’s different for everyone. I have 3 sons and 1 daughter. My youngest son is our Marine. I have worked for several years at a high school and have seen many young men and women choose to join various branches of the military. Some join to get the benefits of training and money for education, others to stay out of trouble they were heading into, some because they have family members who've served before them, some for the excitement they think it offers, others because they don't really have a family and the military becomes their home and family, others to straighten out their life, some have just dreamed of it since they were a child, others just have a heart of service and a love of their country, some were deeply affected by the events of 911, and for some, all of the above or a combination of several.
….After considerable soul searching on this issue I think he wants to be a Marine because he had no choice. His conscience said he had to enlist and no other option, and there were some, was viable to him. I think his desire to serve was in born and nothing was going to deter it. Many parents, like me, are surprised to find a warrior in their midst but grow to accept it and the extreme pride that goes with it.
…My son knew he wanted to be in the military, but he also wanted to be the best of the best and that's why he chose the Marines. Why else, they train harder, they have to earn it. It's not given to them, and once they are in, the Marines have to do more with less, compared to the other branches.
Much thanks to Diane and Marine Moms Online. Gunz Up will continue to share their thoughts in future posts.