My book shelf dedicated to the Marine Corps and the Marines I know; of which I will have to expand at some point!
Hello Cpl. Valdes,
First and foremost I want to extend my sincere gratitude and appreciation for your service. I don’t exactly know for how long, but I have been a subscriber to SgtGrit for quite some time. Though I never served, I certainly represent the latter half of the slogan, “There are two kinds of people in this world: Marines and those who wish they were.”
Unfortunately due to asthma I could not serve in the Marine Corps and all I ever wanted was to be a Marine – not a sailor, soldier, or airman. A Marine. There is no other branch of service that carries the brotherhood quite like The Corps. That isn’t to dismiss or say that there is no bond or brotherhood among those serving in other branches, not at all. The Marine Corps has always struck me as special. There is something about the Eagle, Globe, and Anchor that – even for someone like myself who didn’t get an opportunity to adorn that emblem – strikes me in the chest and brings a smile to my face whenever I see it. One like myself who gets chills whenever he sees it, I can only imagine what the sight of The Corps’ emblem means to one who actually earned it.
On November 9, 2001 I had the privilege of being on Parris Island and watching a friend graduate Marine Corps boot camp; a friend who later told me he was inspired by me to join The Corps. He served in Iraq and when his four years were up, I had the other privilege of being the one to pick him up from the airport and bring him home to his family. He gave me one of his chevron pins that adorned his collar on his desert BDU and a few months later, out of the blue I received a package in the mail. That package was an American Flag that had flown at Camp al-Fallujah with a certificate from the Marine Corps authenticating the dates it flew.
This past April, the son of a friend graduated Marine Combat Training at Camp Geiger, NC and I had the privilege of attending that graduation as well. Upon graduation from boot camp, that son had given me The Crucible coin with the date inscribed of when he completed The Crucible and officially earned the title, Marine.
Whether it was Parris Island fifteen years ago or Camp Geiger just a few months ago, the pride, adrenaline, and emotion that came upon me for being on such hallowed grounds was overwhelming. I never had the opportunity to wear the uniform and call myself “Marine”, but I don’t take it lightly that I had the opportunity to be where I have been – no matter how minimal – and have the privilege of being a friend to such fine men.
Having said that, though I am not a Marine and unfortunately could never be one, I subscribe to the newsletter to read about the brotherhood, read all of the experiences that Marines share, learn more about the Warrior Ethos and Marine Corps culture. Some of it is humorous and entertaining, some of it puts things into perspective and makes me appreciate the sacrifices even more than I already do, some of it continues to teach me.
All of it reminds me of why I wanted to be a Marine and why I absolutely love the Marine Corps and the brotherhood it represents.
Thank You, Again for your service and I’d be remiss if I didn’t say “Semper Fi’!”
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