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U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Jodson B. Graves

My dress blues are hanging in a closet in our bedroom. My wife and I did not have a lot of room to spare in our modest home when I moved back to Columbus from Camp Lejeune last May, so I had to tuck them behind a row of t-shirts, dress pants, and various civilian-appropriate wares. It’s the same place you reserve for nostalgia, the variety of which you are not ready to let go; a place for memories. Like most memories, I often forget they are even there. But on occasion, while rummaging around for a shirt or pair of jeans, the light will reflect off a medal or brass button and catch my attention. A Marine’s dress blues are what he wears when he’s proud of his service — clean, pressed, measured — a stark contrast to what is worn when he isn’t. When I do manage to see them, it prompts a stare from me that is both proud and mistrustful.

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