When I was a recruit, my senior drill instructor pulled me into his office and got right up in my face with an intense look in his eyes. He didn’t yell, he just stared deep into my soul. Then he said with a searing and calm ferocity, “you know that fire you feel burning inside you?…never let that fire go out, you keep that fire burning, understand?” With bug eyes I screamed “aye aye Senior Drill Instructor Staff Sergeant Johnson” and scurried back to my fellow recruits. That moment has stuck out in my mind ever since. Every once in a while I check in with myself to make sure the fire is still burning. Ultrarunning offers a way to stoke the fire, and at times, to fan it into a raging inferno, but it will keep burning.
This fire represents a passion, something that you believe in and will fight to protect. I am certain that every individual who earns the title of Marine knows what I am talking about. The “fire” inside us drives our honor, courage, aggression, grit, strength, endurance, fortitude, devotion, will to fight, esprit de corps, and our unfailing commitment to our fellow Marines. It is the job of those drill instructors to strip away our selfish ways, immaturity, and weaknesses, and ignite the fire deep in our soul. It is our job to never let the fire go dark.
Nunquam Desistas, Semper Fidelis.