Thirty years ago today I graduated from the United States Marine Corps Boot Camp in San Diego, California. Thirty years is a long time. But as long as it has been, every morning I wake up and know I am a United States Marine.
As I wrote in my Marine Corps Story,
“Being a Marine defines everything I am today and everything I ever was. I earned the title the same way millions of men before me and millions will after me. The method may change in the future, as it had changed before my service. All Marines are fraternal brothers and sisters. I believe all Marines have served for the same basic primal reason. We serve others because that is what God put us on the earth to do. Some men and women gave their lives in this service. That will always be the cost we have to bare. Some of us give a little and some of us give everything. All those that have lived free from this gift of service owe these men and women an eternal debt of gratitude. That debt can never be paid in a lifetime and only through the rememberance of the fine men and women that provided that freedom, and a promise to those men and women from those enjoying freedom to “never to allow others to be subjugated and ruled by tyranny and fear” can it ever begin to be repaid. The respect, adventure, and pride that comes with the title, United States Marine, are all just extra benefits of serving the people of our great country and the protecting the principles we as a people hold dear.” — Eric Stephens, September 2008.
My heart will always be draped in dress blue. I wasn’t the best Marine. I was not a poster Marine like my good friend Jason, who in 2008 was promoted to E-9, Master Gunnery Sergeant. I didn’t always fit in, but I love being a Marine. The looks of surprise on people’s faces upon them learning that I was a Marine still entertain me. Each and every day I wake up and know that no matter what I may encounter, I am a Marine, and I can adapt and overcome whatever life presents me.
God bless our Corps and God bless the United States of America.
Thanks for reading and
Happy Rovering Semper Fidelis.