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Only the Few

Murl D. Long

Let me provide you a small glimpse of real life
Of a man preparing for coming strife
It begins with training unsurpassed
Compared to all others, far outclassed

It begins at 4 AM with the ‘Devil’ pounding a stick on a garbage can
We sit up straight in our bunks, to a man
Without question, for sure you are awake, to the head you run
Shower, shave, dress, police your area, the day has begun

Fall out in the dark of night
Straighten up the line, dress to the right
In cadence, run to the Mess
Chow down. What is this stuff? Take a guess

30 minutes. Fall back in ranks, back to the barracks in quick time you go
Brush your teeth, wash your face and assemble again. What next? You don’t know
86 men learn to march in sync
They move as one, in tandem they think

The day wears on, every minute used to learn
No time to rest, not one second to burn
Lights out exactly at 10.
Rest 6 hours, another day will begin

Proper dress, hygiene, history, protocol, chain of command
Weapons, survival, defense-hand to hand
Repeat it over and over again, until
The 86 move as one, body and mind, at will

You trust and respect that comrade by your side
He, too, has taken this most difficult ride
77 days out of the pages of ‘Hell’
You, and the other 86 have similar tales to tell

About pain, sweat, doubt and fear
There is a powerful mystery born right here
Nothing you have learned will you ever forget
An inner strength has been formed, you will never regret

A hundred years you may be allowed to live, God willing
Your life has been forever changed, indeed, fulfilling
Like a fine steel from the hot forge of fire
Your goals will always be higher

Only those who have weathered this gut-wrenching test
Will be referred to as “The Best”
What sets this man apart from all others who strive for perfection, as we have seen
The answer is simple, dear friend. He’s a MARINE!

Murl D. Long
November 10,1945

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