Simon Majak lives in the same city I do. He wants to be a Marine, and I think he just might have what it takes.
Dubbed “The Lost Boys of Sudan,” an estimated 3,600 Sudanese males came to the United States in 2000 and 2001, including about 120 that were settled in West Michigan by Bethany Christian Services. Most lost their parents in a civil war that has killed an estimated 2 million people since 1983.
Majak’s memories date back to about 1987, when his village came under shelling. He believes his parents were killed by artillery shelling or gunfire, an attack that also claimed a brother and sister.
He joined thousands who walked across southern Sudan to Ethiopia in 1989, a journey in which hundreds died of thirst, drowned or were eaten by lions. The refugees were driven out of Ethiopia in 1991 and eventually journeyed south to Kenya. Majak remained there until he flew to Gerald Ford International Airport in December 2000.
He failed in his first attempt at the Marine Corps basic aptitude test, apparently due to language issues. He’s trying again. Why does this guy, now 22 years old, want so badly to be a US Marine?
“This is my new country,” said Majak, 22, who expects to ship out Saturday for boot camp in California. “Joining the Marines is my way of saying thank you.”
Now that’s something.
UPDATE: More on this story here.