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ktriplett
01-16-03, 07:21 PM
Yesterday, I encountered a fellow poolee in a position that was by far unbecoming a person with hopes to become a United States Marine. My disappointment in this person, who I believe has vast potential, drove me to re-evaluate myself, in order to avoid putting myself in the same position. There are many things we poolee's can do to prepare ourselves for boot camp, but I think one of the most important is to try to live by the core values. We are trying to become Marines, and we should act like it.

There are any number of things that make up a Marine. Physical fitness, leadership ability, integrity are just some of these characteristics. Among many, though, three are most prominent and cherished. These are honor, courage and commitment – the core values of the United States Marine Corps. Every Marine knows these three and displays them with pride. They are, in a way, part of the uniform of a Marine. However, it is not required to be a Marine to display any and all of these values. If any person should be striving to live up to the examples set by others, it should be the poolee’s – the future Marines. The problem is many poolee’s do no not know the meaning of the words, let alone know how to live them.

Honor – from the Latin honos, is defined by Webster’s tenth edition as “a good name or public esteem; reputation” or “a showing of merited respect”. This definition does nothing to clarify the true meaning of the word, of what it means to have honor. A person with honor should exemplify the utmost in moral behavior, should be of the highest ethics, never cheating, stealing, or lying. An honorable person should be trustworthy, dependable and responsible. The honorable person’s integrity should never be compromised and the person should never willingly put himself or herself in a position where this may happen. Having honor means not harming those weaker than oneself, not wrongly placing blame on another. Above all else, an honorable person should always respect others, never demeaning those lesser and always properly respecting those higher.

The Latin people had a word for “at heart” – cor, from which the Old French derived the word cuer, “heart”. As is the norm in following the origin of words, it was modified again to the Middle English form corage. These days, we know the word to be courage, and Webster gives us “mental or moral strength to venture, persevere, and withstand danger, fear, or difficulty” as a definition. This is very close to the true meaning of the word, but still lacks something when trying to apply the concept to life. To have courage is to have an inner strength that will carry one through various challenges in life, love, and conflict. Courageous people conduct themselves with a standard that is seldom matched in today’s society. These people have the ability to withstand mental and physical pressure, and make important decisions under stressful circumstances. Courage is having the ability to do what is right in the face of social ridicule, dejection and abandonment.

Lastly, there is commitment. Commit: in Latin, committere, to connect, entrust; comes from com + mittere – to send. “to put into charge or trust; entrust”. This is another where Webster comes nowhere near giving the true meaning of the word. To commit oneself to something means to be dedicated twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. The determination to achieve excellence in every thing a person endeavors to do is to have commitment. It is a discipline, a resolve to see a thing through to the end. A person with commitment to a thing will not falter or fade, regardless of what is placed in that person’s path.

It would be well, as future Marines, for all poolee’s to take to heart these three virtues. They are very important in the journey to becoming a Marine and serving Corps and country. One should never be in a position to violate any of these attributes, and should wear them as a badge of honor. Excellence in everything, doing what is right, and respecting others – these are really not too difficult to achieve.