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In the Military, More Than Just a Uniform

When Marines are recognized out of uniform.

Marine dress blues
Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. (Ephesians 6:11, NIV)

Before he enlisted, one of the things my son looked forward to most was the uniform. I’m not sure whether it was the identification with something bigger than he, or how strong those courageous men in the Marine Corps dress blues looked.

I remember how wonderful—and grown up—he looked during boot camp graduation. Every inch of his dark green dress uniform (they don’t get the dress blues until later) was perfectly pressed and shined—from the tips of his shoes to the top of his cover (civilians would call it a hat). Every Marine on the field was dressed the same. The only differences were in the medals and ribbons adorning their chests and the stripes on some arms. Anyone looking at them would have known what they were—an elite, combat-ready group of dedicated men and women.

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I noticed the power of these men in uniform again on the day of his first deployment. We were fortunate enough to get to be on base to see our son off to the Middle East. This time they weren’t wearing a dress uniform, but instead were combat-ready in their khaki fatigues. But there was the same set of their shoulders that told anyone looking they were ready for the job ahead.

The last time I took note of these military heroes was at our son’s wedding. The service had already begun on that special day when a dozen men slipped inside the chapel. One glance was all I needed to be able to tell that these were my sons Marine Corps buddies. None of them had on a recognizable uniform. Instead they wore what we’d expect to a wedding—dress pants and jackets. Even out of uniform, it was obvious where they served. They were unmistakably Marines.

After the wedding, my husband asked if I had known that the group were Marines. I assured him I had, and we went on to discuss how they didn’t have to be in uniform to be identified as members of the military.

As I lay in bed that night, this Bible verse above came to mind. It reminded me that we too are part of an army—God’s army. We may not wear recognizable uniforms, but to be effectively used by God, those around us should be able to tell Who we serve.

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