As some of you may know, I come from a military family. I spent my life as a child moving from one place to the next every few years. I absolutely hated it at that time in my life. It isn’t easy saying good-bye to friends, then starting all over again. It might be hard for some to believe that I used to be a shy kid. It’s not really a characteristic I enjoyed having because by the time I was finally comfortable, found my place in a new school and made a few friends, we were starting to pack boxes. It sucked.
In my early twenties, I met a nice guy when I was out one night. It turned out he was in the Marine Corps, which would’ve usually had me running the other way since I was tired of moving, and I wanted to have roots for once in my life … but I gave him my number when he asked for it. Needless to say, it was the best decision I could have made in my life. In him, I finally found my home, and we forged friendships that have lasted outside of the Marine Corps.
One of the greatest things about the military is the bonds that are created between soldiers that is different than any other friendship. You have people from all walks of life – who would never give each other a second thought in normal circumstances – that become not only friends, but brothers and sisters. Every time we meet up with our friends from the Corps, it is like not a moment has passed since we had seen each other last. The walls and barriers we sometimes create in life come down, and we can be ourselves without judgement or persecution. No matter what our background or beliefs are, we are accepted and loved.
We spent this past weekend on the outskirts of Nashville with a couple of friends from the Corps, and we had a blast. I think sometimes we forget we are not in our twenties anymore when we first get together. Then the next morning, we are reminded of our age.
We were missing a few of our Corps friends this weekend, and they were sorely missed. When I was younger, I didn’t appreciate what the military gave me. I see people as just people. If you’re a jerk, you’re a jerk. If you’re a good person, you’re a good person. It’s that simple with how I see someone. It’s not that way with everyone, but the military was a melting pot of people and us DoD kids just saw each other for who we were, not what color our skin happened to be.
Today, I am grateful for the friendships the Marine Corps has blessed us with. No matter what happens or what we face, our friends from the Corps are there for life. We are aging, the next day might suck, but we wouldn’t change it for anything. Oorah, Marines. Until we see each other again.