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Keep Your Head Up, My Brothers;
You Are Not And Never Will Be Alone

September 21, 2012


Dedicated To All Veterans

All of those hours spent longing for the atmosphere of home, only to find that is was long since gone.

I was that chubby kid standing on yellow footprints at Paris Island. I was a Marine 90 days later. When I look back at my transformation, the memories that I thought at the time would stand out are quelled by the sense of pride I felt when my Father's eyes met mine for the first time. I was no longer just his child; I was both a Marine and man in his eyes.

It's interesting to me how in times of great strife how slow the time passes and how fast it seems at the same time. All of the hard times, the really hard times, are not what stands out in my mind today, 7 years later.

Today I remember the brotherly bond I shared with strangers who grew into friends, and then into family. We have drifted apart in the last few years but I will always cherish the times we spent together. Whether in bars, on dirt bikes, and even in holes in the ground, we shared something that no civilian will ever understand. Together we all were on the same plane, we all had the same mission, and we had each other to make it from day to day. You don't find this in the civilian world.

I can remember counting down the days to my e.a.s, and dreaming of my triumphant return back home to all of my friends and family. When I got there, the jubilation quickly quelled and I realized the life I had was no more, and that I was simply not the same kid I was before.

Who were these people that I used to call my friends? They didn't know what I know. They hadn't been where I had been. They hadn't seen what I had seen. So I closed up, didn't want to talk. This almost broke me as I felt feelings of alienation, hearing their dialogues of graduating college, buying houses, and tying the knot.

What had happened to me to end up here, where I started, a freshman in college?

Anger grew, as I was 25 and surrounded by teenagers and taking classes that I could not stand. I couldn't look at a list and pick what I wanted to be for the rest of my life. I began to lose focus and became cynical, jaded; even after all I had endured for my country just to be left with nothing but questions and doubts.

It was at this point that I realized that my feelings were not just my own but the shared feelings of veterans whom had all had their hand in building this country tis of thee.

They too had left their friends and families as kids. They too came back to a world forever changed by time and the experience they had upholding our American flag.

I found solace in this notion of commonality and before I knew it, I was into it at college. I had found something to fill my mind and just like in the corps, the time began to fly. I now had friends who were just like me, and I finally was happy again and knew what I wanted to be.

I graduate in May of 2013, and I will be at Ole Miss in the fall.

Keep your head up, my brothers in arms, and remember that you are not and never will be alone.

--- Copyright © 2012 Hunter Mitchell - U.S.M.C. 2005-2009
Hunter Mitchell served our country as a United States Marine from 2005-2009. He is now attending college and anticipates graduating with the Class of 2013 with a Criminal Justice/Homeland Security Major, Accounting/Business Law Minor, from Middle Tennessee State University.

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