Clint Darquea joined the Marine Corps to serve his country and make the world a better place. Now, after two tours overseas and three years in uniform, Darquea's mission has changed.
Disheartened by the handling of the war, Darquea is one of the organizers of a series of peace marches at the Capitol. The next march is scheduled for 12:30 p.m. today.
"We need to get the message out that it's not just women and children who want an end to this war," Darquea said.
The 23-year-old joined the military in the summer of 2001, before Sept. 11, and served overseas in Afghanistan and during the "Race to Baghdad." He was discharged in 2005 after obtaining the rank of lance corporal.
"I went into the military not with a philosophy of war is good, but to support my country," Darquea said. "I got a lot out of my time in the military but there were a lot of things that weren't what I thought we should have done."
It was a combination of the influence of his mother, June Joplin, and the president's decision to send more troops that motivated him to become more active.
"I was totally caught off guard. I keep up with politics and I thought we had taken steps in the right direction," Darquea said. "It shocked me to the point of action."
Now, adorned in his uniform, Darquea marches for peace and as motivation to others to be heard.
"It's more than a message of peace, but hopefully to inspire people to not be afraid to do something. To get some creative minds to find ways to be heard," Darquea said.
But being a discharged Marine marching for peace does draw some adverse reactions.
"There's people who are really supportive and know I have some good insight, having actually set foot over there. Then there's people who think that supporting the military is more important than supporting peace," Darquea said. "You do get those with strong reactions, but I think they are focusing on and supporting the wrong symbols."
• Contact reporter Jarid Shipley at firstname.lastname@example.org or 881-1217.