Op-Ed: When Your Best Friend Is a Marine – American Military News

Op-Ed: When Your Best Friend Is a Marine

This article originally appeared in the Odyssey Online. All opinion articles are the opinion of the author and not necessarily of American Military News. If you are interested in submitting an op-ed please email [email protected]

Tyler Julian

By: Tyler Julian

I'm probably sitting somewhere drinking coffee, writing, and thinking about sheep.
Tyler Julian

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When Your Best Friend Is a Marine

Life changes when your best friend is a Marine.

I knew that my best friend wanted to join the Marines basically from the day I met him. But, in high school, dreams are so fleeting that even though you think you have your life figured out, plans change faster than the seasons of the year, so when he actually signed up I was surprised. Proud and nervous, but surprised.

Now, two years down the road, I still don’t have much of a plan and he is still a United States Marine, splitting time between Iraq, California, and our hometown. For one of the few things that has remained constant in my present life, his being a Marine has had an enormous impact on the ever changing way I feel, think and do things day to day. I hope this article creates an image of what it has been like for me to live with a deeply personal relationship to the United States Marine Corps. Here is the good and bad, funny and sad, and everything in between. Semper Fi.

When your best friend is a Marine, you are proud of him.

When your best friend is a Marine, you feel a desire to join him “over there,” but when you don’t, you feel like you’ve let him and the country down until he reminds you that you are the reason he is “over there.”

When your best friend is a Marine, you tear up when you hear the National Anthem.

When your best friend is a Marine, you will wear a USMC bracelet every day for over a year.

When your best friend is a Marine, you know the “war” isn’t over, and they haven’t all been brought home.

When your best friend is a Marine, you quickly learn not to say he’s in the Army, and military jargon will become a part of your vocabulary.

When your best friend is a Marine, you wonder what exactly is Bertrand Russell’s “Just War.”

When your best friend is a Marine and your college professors talk about the War on Terror, it takes on a whole new meaning. It isn’t abstract like they tend to believe.

When your best friend is a Marine, you aren’t sure what to say when he calls you at 11pm to talk about his day.

When your best friend is a Marine, you take a sudden interest in the insufficiently funded and under staffed nature of the VA hospitals around the US.

When your best friend is a Marine, you wonder what it’ll be like when he comes home.

When your best friend is a Marine, you ask his permission before you write something like this.

When your best friend is a Marine, you read a short story called “Nice Shot” in the Crazyhorse literary journal and think it is one of the best stories you have ever read.

When your best friend is a Marine, the spectacle of the Democrat and Republican debates is frustrating.

When your best friend is a Marine, Anderson’s Imagined Communities takes on a whole new meaning and complicates discussion in your International Studies classes. You ask, “Where do we fit in this? Does it define us?”

When your best friend is a Marine, you’ll have to decide whether or not to leave a tearful message when you call him after watching American Sniper. You leave the message.

When your best friend is a Marine, you will suddenly enjoy reading the British poets from World War I and will present on them in class, leaving the room speechless when it gets personal.

When your best friend is a Marine, you aren’t embarrassed to say “I love you” before you hang up on him.

When your best friend is a Marine, it is hard to participate in discussions in class that try to analyze the invasion of Iraq because the broad terms and black and white phrases get to be too much.

When your best friend is a Marine, your life changes.

tjulian@uwyo.edu'

Tyler Julian

I'm probably sitting somewhere drinking coffee, writing, and thinking about sheep.