On the other hand… I’m grateful.

I am grateful to have been born, to have become a Marine, to have become a veteran and to have met the fine people in those endeavors that I have.

My service in the Marine Corps seems inevitable in retrospect. It is consistent with and core to who I am. I have a lot to be grateful for in it. I learned more from my service and the wonderful people I met about mission and leadership, about teamwork, about getting things done, and about nobility, than I did in any other context. My service in the Marine Corps also led me to meeting my wife and, therefore, to our two beautiful daughters who give meaning to my life in a way that nothing else does.

I strive to turn my experience as a Marine and Veteran into an example to them, for how we can protect and defend people. Porters Protect people. My wife and daughters inspire me to keep charging. I’m grateful to them for it.

A fellow veteran of the Afghan war, and good friend of mine challenged me to write and publish my more positive feelings as a contrast to the darkness that sometimes comes and to publish the two as a pair: the duality of the veteran experience, I’m grateful to him for presenting me that challenge that I have accepted here.

A mantra I have long respected is the serenity prayer. I seek the strength to change what I can, the serenity to accept what I cannot, and the wisdom to know the difference. I wouldn’t change any decision that I had control over. And I can’t change or control the things that I wish were different.

I can’t.

And I will do my best to not dwell on them too persistently. To hold gratitude: the emotion inconsistent with hate or anger closest to my heart on these days. To my brothers and sisters in the Marine Corps and the other services to our civilian colleagues, to our Afghan allies and to all of those who undertake great works to make the world better and safer and kinder for others: thank you. And to those well wishers to take a moment to wish me or others happy birthday, happy Marine Corps Birthday or happy veteran’s day, regardless of the spirit in which it is intended, thank you as well.

Thank you.


2 responses to “On the other hand… I’m grateful.”

  1. […] …And on the other hand. I AM grateful. […]

  2. Barbara Vogel Avatar
    Barbara Vogel

    Dear son,

    I am very moved by your poignant process and gifted ability to articulate. Thank-you for posting. Thank-you for staying faithful.
    Love, Mom

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