The reasons why some young Americans have chosen to become
United States Marines
As told by their mothers, fathers, wives, and other loved ones
Before our son was to leave for Marine Corps boot camp, I needed to learn why, Why, WHY was he choosing this at this most dangerous time, and of all the branches, why the Marine Corps? He cited a few reasons as “I need more discipline; my life needs to be put into perspective, I will be doing a lot of things I’ve always wanted to do,” none of which I was willing to accept as trade for the risks that I knew lie before him.
Discussions were held with our son for three years about his desire to join, but high school graduation arrived and so did his date for Marine Corps boot camp. We lost the battle. On August 21, 2006, off he went. Feeling lost and defeated, I turned to my ever-reliable confidants, the moms and friends of the support group, Marine Moms Online. Did I ever expect to get such an outpour of responses? Without a doubt, I knew they would come through for me. You see, I am speaking of son #2 who is following in his former Marine brother’s footsteps, so I was well aware and ready to reacquaint myself with the power of this group and the people who comprise it.
I would like to share a summary of stories and the reasons their sons and daughters shared with me, when I asked the group “Why?”
I compiled their replies as a keepsake for myself, but the words are so inspirational that they must be shared. As I read the close to 100 replies, I found myself sitting taller and taller in my computer chair, so tall I might as well have stood -- to salute each and every one of their Marines, and these parents as well, for raising children of such caliber. Ours are an elite breed of kids. They are young men and women who do not stand behind their flag, they stand in front of it, risking their lives, putting their parents’ emotions in peril along side of them, as they fight for what they believe in and are steadfast to protect the freedoms of not only their nation, but that of people in far away lands.
The following are excerpts, slightly modified, to fit into the context of this reporting. Names are removed, but the meanings run deep and clearly depict why a young American chooses to become A United States Marine. In reply to my posting stated as such:
Can anyone tell me why my son wants to be a Marine? I know about Honor, Courage, and Commitment. I know what the Recruiter promised. My son had other options, but said that first, He Must Become A Marine. He didn't share a lot about the whys, just that he had to do it, and is now in his 2nd week of boot camp. I would love to know why some kids chose to serve, and others wouldn't do it if their life depended on it. Can anyone share why they feel their son/daughter chose to become a United States Marine? Is it a "calling?” When does the pride overshadow the fears I have?
…I ask myself this very same question almost on a daily basis. The only answer that I can come up with is that we raised some pretty special young people! I look around at some of the kids today and find myself thinking, "They don't have a clue as to what life is all about."
…Wow, you stirred up some memories! My son decided to become a Marine for the discipline he needed in his life. There is also the saying that the Marines "are the best" and being one is such an honor that once you achieve that, you can achieve anything. This is right out of the mouth of my Marine son. What they didn't figure when making this choice was that we moms didn't enlist, we were drafted. I believe truly in my heart that to be a mom of any service member deserves a medal in itself. Be proud of the man you brought up because it takes a special breed to recognize this in themselves. You did an outstanding job as a mom. Don't ever forget that much. Welcome to the roller coaster. Hang on for the good times, scary times, worries, distance.
…My son joined the Marines a few years out of high school. It coincided with his fiancé transferring to a four-year college. He had a great job, made very good money and the whole thing took us by surprise. He came home 3 days before Christmas and told us he was joining the Marines! He also was very patriotic in high school, drove around with a big old American flag on his truck on Cinco de Mayo, he would get very upset when other groups of kids would threaten to burn the American flag at school and the school administration would support their right to do so (this is in Calif.). When I asked him why he was joining, he would answer that a part of him always wanted to be a Marine. When I'd ask him, "Why the Marines, why not the Navy, Air Force, Army or Coast Guard, he'd say because the Marines are the best, had the hardest training, was more challenging, etc., and would be part of something Greater... You all know what I mean. He also seemed to feel that it was time to stand up for what he believed in. We've had a few boys from our town join the Marines. It's funny; they are all very similar types of kids. We had a group of parents that were trying to keep recruiters out of the high school. They were implying that the recruiters were wooing young men by giving video games, key chains, and other cool stuff. I never new a kid who would sign off 8 years of his life for a video game! Most of these kids have been thinking about this for a long time. They're NOT stupid! I feel they are so special, and yes, maybe they do have a calling. They LOVE THIS COUNTRY! They know that SOMEONE has to protect US! And for whatever their reasons, they want to be a part of it.
…When my son was 14 he decided to be a Marine. When he turned 17 he did the delayed enlistment and we went down to the recruiter and I signed him up. Then the following year when he was leaving for boot camp I thought what the !!!! did I do? We are in a time of war and I just signed his life away. I begged him to stay and we would do whatever I could to get him out and he said, “No, mom. I will finish what I started no matter what.” His leave for boot camp was the first time he had ever been away from me and his family. Needless to say, I was hysterical for days. But the proudest day of my life was standing in those bleachers at the MCRD in San Diego and watching him be announced as a Marine. I will never forget that day. When he gave me a hug and I was crying my eyes out, all I could think was he has grown like two inches taller and he was already 6'1, so he had to be at least 6'3 now. How could that be… it’s only been 3 months. So I said to him, “What’s the deal, did you grow, what have they been feeding you?” And his response to me right then is why I know he became a Marine. He looked down at me and said, “No, mom, I'm not taller, they just taught me to stand up straight and proud.” It still makes me cry thinking of that moment but I knew then “Why?”
This is just a few of the many. Gunz Up will continue to post these replies, a few at a time, until we've read them all. And much thanks to Diane for sharing them with us.