“There is no greater love,
than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”
It’s a quote taken from John 15:13, but used in movies, books, songs, poems, and conversations all over the world. And I strongly believe that everyone should volunteer a few years of their time to something, be it Military, peace corps, or something like it.
My mom and most teachers I’ve had, could tell me exactly where they were when President John F. Kennedy was assassinated. And in the very same way, I remember sitting in a study hall, in Logan, Ohio, watching the news with my classmates as the Twin Towers fell on September 11, 2001. Something changed in me that morning when I was a Sophomore, when I looked around at all of my peers with their eyes full of fear and tears, and decided that I wanted to do something to try to protect them from having anything like that happen again.
Three years later, in 2004, I enlisted into the United States Marine Corps, because of the decision I made the morning of September 11th. That I would go wherever and do whatever I could do, in order to represent and keep my friends safe. The journey took me to Parris Island, South Carolina for a 13 week process of boot camp. To Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, for Combat Training. and then to Camp Pendleton, California where I joined the First Marine Division, and awaited our deployment to Iraq.
For two years, the Marines I was stationed with became closer as we trained, worked, and lived together. We would wake up early and stay up late doing reckless things that young men did, but our conversations would always sway from women, to drinking, to what we would do if we hadn’t enlisted, to the “why did you enlist?” conversation. For a lot of us, it was that morning on September 11th that started each of us on our paths. In 2006, we got our shot to do something that might change the way America was looked at. We flew the 18 hour flight to Kuwait, and from there transferred to our base in Iraq where would spend almost a year in country going on Convoys, Foot Patrols, and engaging in situations that would redefine our outlook on humanity, our country, and ourselves.
While I no longer serve in the Military, and have fully embraced my life as a civilian, student, husband and father. I still think about the time I spent serving in the Marines, and how I would never change that decision. It helped shape my outlook on life, my enthusiasm as a person, and my drive to keep pushing myself to be better. And I believe that everyone should dedicate a few years of their time to something bigger than themselves, so they can gain a larger scope of what the world is like, and what kind of part they can play in it.
So, while the statement says that there is no greater love, than to lay down their life for another, I would argue that just the act of volunteering to put yourself in a position where that’s possible, is the same kind of love. And I believe that no matter what organization you choose, everyone should volunteer to a cause greater than themselves.