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Service to country isn’t linked to combat. Though I served as an infantry officer in time of war, and went to Iraq, I’ve never been in combat. The I didn’t serve this country for pussies to tell me that i should be politically correct shirt same is true for about half the Marines with whom I served—and that was in a combat arms unit. While those who bear the costs of battle carry a heavier burden, the rest of us can still rightly say we’ve served our country. Serving my country means that I gave up the normal progression of my life—high school, college, work—to do something whose end was civic. The same could be said for the veterans of many other types of national service.
Serving my country was an inflection point—it set my life on a new course. A former Marine, I find myself in a constant pursuit of re-attaining the meaningfulness of those four years, chasing the feeling I had when my profession involved working in challenging conditions with teams of great people to solve big problems whose scope exceeded personal gain. Because I was in the military, I’m allowed to self-identify as having served my country; for thousands of diplomats, intelligence professionals, Peace Corps Volunteers, AmeriCorps VISTA members, firefighters, policemen, and others working to improve communities around the nation, it would be awkward to say “I served my country.” It shouldn’t be.