Marlantes: Always

Semper fi, brothers,” Mellas whispered to himself, understanding for the first time what the word always required if you meant what you said. He remembered a discussion at his eating club with his friends and their dates one night after a dance. They were talking about the stupidity of warriors and their silly codes of honor. He’d joined in, laughing with the rest of them, hiding the fact that he’d joined the Marines several years before, not wanting to be thought of as whatever bad thing they thought a warrior was. Protected by their class and sex, they would never have to know otherwise. Now, seeing the Marines run across the landing zone, Mellas knew he could never join that cynical laughter again. Something had changed. People he loved were going to die to give meaning and life to what he’d always thought of as meaningless words in a dead language.”

– Karl Marlantes, Matterhorn (p. 324)

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