"I was going nowhere all the way through high school. When I graduated, my father told me I had a choice: college or the Marine Corps. I followed in my father's footsteps and joined the Marine Corps, and it saved my life. I've been in combat in Afghanistan, Syria, Iran, and Iraq. I was shot, stabbed, and in a truck that was blown up (IED, improvised explosive device) outside Fallujah. My parents thought I'd been killed---somehow they never got the call that updated them---but I survived. I called them from Germany, and that's when they found out I was still alive." "I hate that you had to go through such a terrible experience. And I want to thank you for your service." "There's no need to thank me. I just did what any man would do."