Some people think we came from hell, other think we should all go there. Then there are the wise ones who are glad we are around.
So what does it take to be a Marine? I admit, you have to be a bit foolish, a little daring, somewhat adventurous, looking for a challenge and according to most parents-crazy. Why? Because we are special. We train differently, we act differently, we think like no others, we take chances where others never would, we do more with less,We are overflowing with pride.
We wear our uniform with pride, we hold our heads up high with pride and our families are proud of us. Our country respects us, there are those who are not fond of us and the enemy fear us. So, unless you’ve been a Marine, no one really understands us or what it takes to be a Marine. We are damn proud to be called “Marine”.
You can find a former Marine in all walks of life. People say we’re dummies, stupid, crazy, obnoxious, animals. They just don’t know. I have met former Marines who are lawyers, doctor, artists, police captains, business owners and just about any profession you can imagine. And every former Marine I have met is just as proud now as when they were in the Corps.
Our ways in life and in combat are unconventional, unlike others, daring foolish or rude at times, impetuous, usually tough but always successful. We have been called, “America’s 911”. We know how to “take it” and we know how to ” dish it out”. We have gone through boot camp or OCS and became sensitive, caring and loving. Sensitive to what people say about us, caring for our fellow Marine and loving our Corps and country.
The men and women of the Marine Corps are highly motivated and held in high esteem by those who love us, hate us and fear us. We have an ego the size of Texas and a history to back it up. No one can ever take that away from us because we have earned it. When you join the Marine Corps, it’s because you want to be a Marine. I know.
Over the past century, we have been looked down upon, insulted, spat on rejected, degraded, used, abused, exploited and taken advantage of. We love it! We can take it; that’s what makes us a Marine. This special treatment.
We are respected and admired by other countries yet not in some social circles in our country. That is just fine because we shall be here, prepared to fight when our country needs us again. And we ask for nothing. That’s what it takes to be a Marine.
Gen. George S. Patton could not have said it any better when he said, “The highest obligation and privilege of citizenship it that of bearing arms for one’s country.”
If it weren’t for these crazy, foolhardy, vulgar, wild, gutsy, braggarts who joined the Marine Corps, we would not have a country, a free country. A free country that allows others to call us names. We have protected this country and died for you.
Thank you for that honor.
Martin E. Shapiro
RVN 1965/66, 1st Bn., 9th Marines