Join the royal marines. There are adverts all over the TV here in the UK, welcoming men to find their way within the ranks of the royal marines, whether as a full timer or part time alongside their civilian lives.
The truth is that for myself, the idea of joining the marines came long before I saw any of those adverts. I first had the idea long before I even journeyed across the ocean to the British shores. I have always known that my life was meant to be a series of adventures and challenges and the armed forces always appealed to me.
What about having to kill people? I was asked once by a parent of a friend ” Do you think you would be able to kill someone?” Declaring that she didn’t think her son or I were capable of killing. It was a fair question to be honest, and I agree that everyone should ask themselves that question when considering a career in the armed forces. The answer however, in my opinion, is to be well thought through. I mean does anyone know what they are capable of? No one joins the armed forces in the hope of killing other people, even though it is probably somewhat inevitable at some point. They wouldn’t train you how to do it so well if it wouldn’t be necessary at some point or other. The truth is that I don’t think anyone really is capable of killing, because killing doesn’t just involve the immediate act, but the resulting consequence. The memories, the sleepless nights and the simple knowledge of knowing that you have ended a life. Is it justifiable? Was there good reason? War is always a topic of debate, was it necessary to protect innocents or just a cover up for ploy to rob a country of its resources. Gold, diamonds, oil, the list goes on. So then you ask yourself, have you been a contributing factor to the deaths of others for a purposeful reason or just some ulterior motive of a puppet master pulling strings.
Why then do I feel that I should have joined the marines and what was it that stopped me from doing just that? I had started training for it, I attended the interview, I had filled out the application and signed on the dotted line. All that was left was to place the envelope in the mailbox.
Adventure, tactics, espionage, weaponry, bushcraft and survival skills are all interests of mine. The comradeship and the pride of earning the coveted green beret. The marines offered all that I was looking for. Not even the brutal training regime was a deterrent in my mind, in fact if anything it was more of an inviting factor to me. Limits are just a restraint in peoples lives and I always pushed myself beyond my physical and mental limitations. It is only in doing this that we know what we are capable of and become stronger in body and mind.
So everything was perfect, the marines offered everything that I could have wanted, so what stopped me?
In a word….family. I couldn’t imagine leaving them with the burdens that they have to deal with. I couldn’t bare the thought of not being around for my sick father and god forbid his illness take him from me while I am away. I couldn’t find it in myself to desert my mother while she looks after my father on her own, to deal with his illness and to watch his deterioration helplessly. I wouldn’t leave my sister, who has sacrificed so much for this family, to deal with it all on her own.
I made my decision, whether it was right or not I can’t say for sure. I do know that there are and always will be days where I look out my window and say, ” I should have been a Royal Marine.”