by Cpl. Robert Lin Cook
Jan 1942-Sept 1945

"What does it take 
to be a Marine?"
I've heard the
question asked.
It takes self esteem
to be a Marine,
think of yourself
as first class.

What does it take
to be a Marine?
You have to keep
your honor clean,
never use the word
'retreat' or
even think the
word 'defeat'.
You must be a special
man who only knows
to say, 'I can!'

When tragedy shows
its ugly head and
those around you
are wounded or dead,
you stay the course
instead.
You do not run,
you do not cry,
you only know 
to do or die.
You only know,
when all is gone,
you only know
to carry on.

What does it take 
to be Marine?
I think I know
from what I've seen.
You do not know 
if you've not been there
to see the courage of
a staunch Marine
who sees his duty 
clear and clean,
takes his rifle
in his hand,
goes forward through
a no-man's land
and strikes the foe
with main and might
and overcomes
his fearful plight.

What does it take
to be a Marine?
That's what it takes
to be a Marine.

*     *     *
The author: Robert Lin Cook served with Reg. Weapons Co. (2d-2d) from 1942-44, at Guadalcanal and Tarawa during a 33-month overseas tour.

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What Does It Take?