MARINE CORPS AIR STATION MIRAMAR, Calif. -- As the United States celebrates the 238th anniversary of its independence, some Marines aboard Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, Calif., take a moment to reflect upon their decisions of defending the Constitution and protecting the freedoms Americans enjoy.
Sgt. Marcos Morales, colors sergeant with Marine Wing Support Squadron (MWSS) 373 and a Tucson, Ariz., native, could not see himself doing anything other than being a Marine.
“Being a Marine means everything to me,” said Morales. “Being able to give back to the beautiful country I live in is an amazing feeling for me. This is a big part of my life, like many before me who shed blood, sweat and tears in everything that we go through. I love it.”
Last month, Morales took over as his squadron’s colors sergeant. As such, he trains the members of his color guard to bear the nation’s flag for all present to see – an honor Morales treats with reverence.
“Whenever I go out to practice, or to a ceremony, I try to remember that ‘hey, it’s not about me or the Marine Corps anymore,’” said Morales. “I have the national colors in my hand; anything that I do could be seen as a representation of America. It’s definitely a powerful feeling.”
Independence Day is traditionally viewed as a chance to gather with friends and family for barbeques and parties. Sgt. Nashua Randall, assistant crew leader with Aircraft Recovery, Headquarters and Headquarters Squadron (H&HS), describes the holiday as something to be held in high regard, describing it as more than an excuse to party.
“The Fourth of July represents our nation’s freedom and independence,” said Randall, a Los Angeles native. “It’s so much more than just fireworks and alcohol. This is a time to reflect on why we’re here.”
Although Randall understands the desire to celebrate, he still has reservations on how people see the day.
“I think it’s one of those holidays that are underappreciated,” said Randall. “People don’t think about all the men and women who sacrificed themselves, who continue to do the same this very day, for the freedoms we enjoy today, and they really should.”
As friends and families gather together to celebrate the United States’ independence, these Marines recognize the freedoms Americans enjoy and the true meaning of the holiday this Independence Day: freedom, sacrifice and spirit.