Such a life changing event. When I left home in May 1981, I really did not have an idea of what Marine Corps Book Camp at Parris Island, South Carolina would be like. I only knew that it was time for me to be on my own. That really sounds silly, when I was joining an elite group of about 200,000 of men and women that make an oath, they wrote a blank check to the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. I served only 3 years on active duty, and things were certainly different for women back then. FIRST we were ladies...then a MARINE. I wonder if the women in boot camp now have to wear RED lipstick, the only lipstick allowed, sun up to sun down? Yes, it was 100 degrees. Yes, we marched. With packs on our back. Our boot camp was a little shorter and we did not do the CRUCIBLE. The standards were different because we ARE different. However, the unwavering discipline and precise way of fulfilling our mission was the same. Every MARINE is a rifleman. Every MARINE knows ONCE A MARINE, ALWAYS A MARINE. We are part of a grand fraternity of brothers and sisters that love our country and the freedoms we enjoy. In the wake of so much discontent, I remember that because of servicemen and women, past, present and future, we have the choice to support/agree with either "side" of anything. Watch, don't watch. Like them, don't. You get to choose, but so do I.