Whatever you want to call it, it was no different this morning than any other. Bittersweet came later, just a few minutes ago, when I realized I'd be taking it off for the last time (I haven't yet). I used to think I would use an old pair of woodlands - sans name tapes - to go hunting. Now I know I won't. Don't get me wrong, the uniform itself isn't some kind of sacred object and I don't put it on a pedestal. It's just that there are two types of people in the world - those who have the right to wear it and those who don't. I will always be a Marine but for now I am turning over the everyday burdens and challenges of life in the service to my brethren who remain on active duty, and so I will only wear the uniform when I too am conducting Marine business, or when ceremonially appropriate.
The uniform, of course, is a symbol - and what it symbolizes is sacred. There is no way I will ever do anything in my professional life that will be as gratifying or fulfilling as the last four years. So I will miss the sense of meaning. Where the Marine Corps gave me purpose I will have to give myself purpose, especially in the near future when my plans are to travel and spend time with family in Israel and volunteer but not to get a "real" job.
Aside from that, what are some other things I will miss about the Marine Corps?
- My friends, most of whom remain in CA for now but will soon enough scatter to the four corners. Thank goodness for Facebook (and for my love of road trips).
- The unique opportunities, whether it's deployment or a week on the rifle range or flying around in USMC helos or watching big things go boom and turn into little things.
- Training and leading Marines, though I won't necessarily miss all the stupid stuff they get into
- The fact that it is perfectly normal - not even noticed - to drop a steady stream of f-bombs in even a formal briefing or presentation
- The PRC-117
- The stupid f$@#ing rules, and the idea that all rules are created equal.
- The MST - though I will miss how its ingenuity and resourcefulness take my breath away
- Being cold down to my marrow. The heat never bothered me as much.
- Shaving every morning
- Juuuust a few other things that I will skip in the interest of discretion
Until then, Happy Holidays and...