Because of the number of requests, I secured Duncan's permission to print here the letter he dashed off almost a year ago and gave to his friends who asked him why he would want to go into the Marines. Please remember that these are the heartfelt words and emotions of a then 16 year old young man. Now that he is 17 and signing the Delayed Entry Program papers in a few weeks, he tells me he stands by them. If anything, were he to write it today, he says it would be a longer and stronger statement. The rest of this post consists entirely of his words.
Everyday, people ask me why I want to join the military and, everyday, I stuggle to give them an answer they can understand. And, everyday, I fail. It's not because I want to get lots of shiny medals or handshakes from the President, and it's not because I want to make anyone proud. It's a feeling that has haunted me my entire life, the feeling that it's the right thing to do, the feeling that it is there that I belong.
The fact is: I am willing to stand between you and the people who are trying to kill you. I intend to place myself in harm's way for you. So why do you look at me like I'm crazy? Why do some people despise me because of what I intend to do? Why does everyone want to talk me out of this? I know: you don't understand me. Fact is, I don't understand you, either.
Honestly, how can you watch television and watch photos of war and slavery and then go on eating your dinner like nothing's really going on? What has made you stop caring about the world around you? Are you aware, even a little bit, of the sacrifices being made every day to keep you safe and comfortable in America. The nation that forgets its defenders will, itself, be forgotten and lost one day. If you aren't able to realize and appreciate the sacrifices made for your freedom, you don't deserve to be free.
I'm not doing this for my family and, in some ways, I' not doing it for my country. In fact, I will still do it even if I don't get support from either of them. So lead me, follow me, or get the hell out of my way. No matter where or when, Marines have an obligation to each other, to the Corps, and to our country and those who cannot defend themselves. We take that obligation with us everywhere we go. I will protect these ideals with my life.
The reason I write this is that I want my family and friends to understand why I want to fight. Do you honestly believe I WANT to put myself in harm's way? No, but I am willing to stand in the gap if no one else will. Isaiah 6:8, "And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, "Who shall I send? Who will go for us?" And I said, "Here am I. Send me."