The easy answer is...
They picked me.
Yes, that's the easy, simple answer. When it came to sitting down and writing Once Her Man, Always Her Man, I didn't wonder what branch Luke was in...he just told me he was in the Marines. From there, you could say the rest was history. But if I were to look deeper I would say a part of that inspiration came from the photograph of my uncle in his dress blues years before I was born...or better, the image of every single Marine I've ever seen on the news, on television shows and in films.
Honor, Commitment, Courage. These are the core values of the USMC. And the three reasons I love to write them as my heroes and heroines.
From the USMC Principles and Values
A code of personal integrity, honor guides those who do the right thing when no one is looking. It is not only a duty, but also a distinction, as those who possess honor are held in honor. It's found in one's beliefs, but exhibited through one's actions. Marines are held to the highest of standards, ethically and morally. Marines are expected to act responsibly in a manner befitting the title they've earned.
When other principles are tested, it's courage that prevents them from crumbling. It isn't ignoring fear, but being stronger than fear. Courage is the guardian of all other values. It is there when times are toughest, when difficult decisions have to be made. It takes the form of mental, physical and ethical strength, and is found in the backbone of every Marine.
Commitment is the spirit of determination found in every Marine. It is what compels Marines to serve our nation and the Corps, and to continue on when others quit. Commitment doesn't take breaks and it cannot be faked. It measures and proves one's desire, dedication and faithfulness. Becoming a United States Marine represents the highest level of commitment.
So while the easy answer may be simple, my love for Marines is a great deal more complicated and layered. These are real people who become Marines, they go through intense training to prove their worth as a Marine and once a Marine...always a Marine.
Please join me this weekend for the Always a Marine anniversary party, celebrating one year since Once Her Man, Always Her Man debuted. The blog party starts here on Saturday and heads over to my blog on Sunday!