In my life, I have had wanted nothing more than what I now am, a Marine. A single 6-letter word that speaks volumes to multitudes. Just the name, Marine, carries pride, honor and courage. Many men join for many different reasons, but they all start off with the same goal along the way, to become a Marine. To be one of the few, the proud. Proud, pride, strength when united. Every background, every creed and every color. All come together under the same promise. The promise to protect this country against all enemies, foreign and domestic. All who join have accepted this price, this calling. The price of having to leave all behind, to journey to a country where people hate you, and all you stand for.
The American Dream, Martin Luther King Jr's Dream and the Dream of our Forefathers. This dream of freedom and the right to preserve it. And who is called upon to undertake this task, the United States Marines. We rise to the call to lay down our lives. We fight and die for the freedom that some people cherish, some people spit upon and the very freedom that most people think they deserve. But who really deserves this freedom, the People or the Patriot.
Thomas Jefferson said it best when he said, "The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time, with the bloodshed of patriots and tyrants."
But how many really understand and believe that statement. How many know what it is like to sleep alone, cold, humbled and unappreciated. How many know what it is like to lose a friend or loved one who fought and died for the freedoms you were given. And how many have received a folded American flag, followed by a 21 Gun Salute. How many, we don't know. But whatever the number, they are the ones who gave so much for their Country and freedom that they lost it all.
Our Nation will see our conflicts on T.V., they will see our men and women, our sons and daughters who have openly accepted the possibility of death, and they will turn the channel without a second thought.
But you remember this. While you sleep at night with your parents, your wife, your children, there are always men out there awaiting the call to lay their lives down, and as J.F.K. said in his Inaugural Speech, "I do not cower from this responsibility, I welcome it."
January 7, 2003
Sgt Aaron M. Gilbert
United States Marine Corps
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