In early June, I graduated from Springfield High School, and while many recent high school graduates are getting ready to start their freshman year of college, I’m preparing to ship to the MCRD (Marine Corps Recruit Depot) in San Diego for Marine Corps boot camp, the beginning of a four-year military commitment. Since I can remember, I have felt called to service of my country in the military, something instilled in me by my dad, a Gulf War veteran. My dad taught me that it is the duty of the privileged to give back to those who have not been as blessed through service. In other words, noblesse oblige.

Frank HollahanThe term “noblesse oblige” is a French phrase literally meaning “nobility obliges.” It is born from the idea that the privileged owe their station in life in part to the society that has given them so much, and so should give back to that society. As someone who has lived a comfortable life, benefiting from societal institutions and opportunity more than many, I feel that service in the Marine Corps is a way for me to help protect the country that has given me so much, and to help affect positive change in less-privileged parts of the world, hopefully bettering the lives of others.

The concept of the duty of the privileged can be best summed up in the words of John F. Kennedy, who said at his inaugural address, “Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.” In buying into the country through serving it, I hope to make it better place for everyone, benefitting those who need it the most.

Editor’s Note: Frank Hollahan is spending the summer helping INB as a Deposit Quality Control Intern.