Terminal Lance #439 “Prize Inside”
September 9, 2016
Why is this not a thing?
MRE’s are like happy meals for Marines, except they make you incredibly sad. I propose that we turn that frown upside-down, and start including awesome prizes inside of each of these beige packages of depression. These will boost troop morale by even just slightly reducing the amount of misery involved with living on MRE’s. Sure, it won’t stop them from backing up your colon like I-405 during rush hour, but will bring even just a tiny bit of joy to a miserable meal.
If I might abruptly change the subject, I of course realize this weekend is the 15th year anniversary of September 11th. I debated doing a strip on the subject and adding some profound words to the bottom, but I ultimately decided against it in favor of offering a bit of joy to what is sure to be a depressing weekend.
September 11th defined a generation. For many of us, it was the reason we enlisted. It gave our enlistment a purpose, a common enemy (Islamic extremism), and a sense of duty as we reeled from the horror in New York City.
Something that I think many veterans of my age are having trouble wrapping their heads around is that this generation is not the same one as who is currently enlisting at this moment.
As I approach my 30th year of life on this earth, I realized today that exactly half of my life was spent before 9/11 and the other half after. I was old enough when it happened to know the world before it, and young enough to experience the world after.
Marines enlisting today at the age of 18 were no older than 3 years old at the time of the attacks in 2001. To them it is abstract, or rather a history lesson like Pearl Harbor, Vietnam or Desert Storm was to me growing up. I don’t say this as a means to drag them down, but as a reflection of my own generation. We, as veterans, more or less defined the modern landscape of online military culture, but many of the major players in this scene have little ties to the active duty world.
For my part, I consider Terminal Lance to be an “active duty” brand more than I do a “veteran” brand, if that even makes sense. Despite the fact that I have been out of the Corps for some time, I write in the headspace of the active duty Lance Corporal. For me personally, I feel a kinship with that mindset–the ever-sucking suck–more than I do the bearded, velcro-American-flag baseball cap wearing crowd.
Veterans and active duty are two distinctly different cultures, and it is mostly the veteran community that defines its outward appearance online. In other words, the many veteran-run pages full of “dark” and “irreverent” humor you often see dominating this space do not accurately represent or even reflect the modern active duty military community.
Anyway, I’m rambling at this point. These are just thoughts that have crossed my mind as we approach the 15 year anniversary of one of the most tragic events in American history… One that I vividly remember.
In other news, I will be in Brooklyn next weekend for the Brooklyn Book Festival! This will be my first time in the Big Apple, so I’m excited about it. Stay tuned to the Terminal Lance official Twitter and Instagram for more details as it approaches.