My father was a religiously minded young man who, after high school was preparing for a life of ministry. As a ministry student, enrolled in college, pursuing a preaching degree, dad had no worries about getting shipped off to Viet Nam like other kids. Except my father couldn't wrap his head around Koine Greek. He was flunking it, and because of that, flunking out of college.
Dad went down to the Marine recruiting station and enlisted. My father wanted to serve with other people who were serving because they wanted to, not because they were forced to. The Marines were the only all volunteer branch at that time. Latter on they took draftees.
That's the story of how dad joined the Marines in a nutshell. He was allowed to request a MOS, which he did. He put down chaplains assistant. Request denied. They shaved his head and sent him to the Nam.
He served in Da Nang, guarding the air base, walking patrols, shooting and ducking, and doing whatever else the sergeant told him to do. Dad did his duty, received his honorable discharge, married mom, reenrolled in college, and had me. More kids came latter. He never became a preacher. Dad worked as a human resources manager till he retired.
Now that mom and dad are retired they are out doing retired people stuff. They've taken a couple of cruises, and visited grandkids. I'm sure dad's going out in public wearing white shoes, black socks and Bermuda shorts. Dad also wears one or more articles of clothing with USMC on it. At a minimum he will have a ball cap with something Marine related. This is S.O.P. and uniform of the day for old farts with access to a Sgt. Grit catalog.
This month they headed off to Washington DC. Dad went to the Vietnam War Memorial. From what my mom says that went OK. The National Museum of the Marine Corps is just outside of Quantico. There was no way they were going to miss that.
Dad had one of his USMC ball caps on at the museum. A little Hispanic girl came up to him and asked him if he was a marine. I'm sure dad stood a little straighter when he told her yes. She thanked him for his service. Then she gave him a letter she had written, explaining how much she enjoyed being an American and how grateful she was for her freedom. It was her way of saying thank you.
The air-conditioning must be broken in the Marine Museum. I guess its so hot in there that Dad's eyes began to sweat. No matter, he was able to stifle himself and beat a strategic retreat without imperiling the dignity of the Corps.