United States Marines believe in servitude to higher ideals than self. They believe in selfless devotion to America and those old fashioned traits that made America great: integrity, enthusiasm, unselfishness, loyalty, judgment, initiative, dependability, knowledge and courage.
The Marines believe in the concept of senior-subordinate relationships partaking that of a father to sons and daughters to whom the father is unrelated except by the inextricable bond of military comradeship and committed leadership.
Marines believe they have a responsibility to the youth they enlist, their parents, and to the nation itself to create better citizens.
So I believe in the United States Marines.
Once becoming a Marine, a sea change occurs. This change modifies forever a person’s character right down to their soul.
Marines teach in their doctrinal publications that being a Marine is a state of mind; more a calling than a profession. It’s not a job. It’s not male or female, majority or minority, rank or position. Rather, being a Marine comes from the spirit that is tattooed on the soul of every Marine who earns the right to wear the Marine Corps uniform. It is a searing mark on the innermost being. And unlike physical or psychological scars, which over time tend to heal and fade in intensity, the spirit of being a Marine only grows more defined—more intense—the longer one is a Marine. Once a Marine, always a Marine.
This sea change, branded onto those who earn the title of Marine, turns a human whose nature it is to be selfish into a selfless being, possessing a spirit that places the interest of the individual second to that of the institution he or she defends.
In my own experience as a Marine, I truly became a Marine when I learned that my own individual opinions, desires, needs…even my own life…were less important than the needs and life of the whole. I learned that my worth, while valuable, was not as worthy as that of my unit or my Marine Corps. Not even worth as much as my fellow Marine next to me. The needs of my country had a far higher priority than any of my own.
Unlike society at large that teaches as worthy goals individuality, self-indulgence, and personal achievement, Marines tutor and learn that service to America and servitude to their fellow Marines and Americans are their highest callings.
I believe in the US Marines not only because of their selfless and courageous devotion to duty but also because they are nation builders. With every class of Marines graduated from boot camp, the Marines create yet another group of strong, disciplined, loyal, dependable soldiers who are better citizens physically, mentally and morally then when they enlisted. And they return to civilian life to serve and build America from the inside amongst their families and communities.
I believe in the Marines because each individual—myself included—trained in the ethos of Semper Fidelis—the Marines’ motto “Always Faithful”—is a better citizen for having served.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.