Esther Chung may not have been born in the United States but when she looks at her three American children and her Marine husband, she says she belongs here.
Chung, 34, lives in military housing at Quantico Marine Corps base where her husband, Capt. Danny Chung, works as a base public affairs officer.
While Sept. 11 brought about a surge of patriotism, Chung said it gave her the push she needed to begin applying for her U.S. citizenship.
“That [tragedy] certainly made me feel like I needed to be a part of this country. After that I said I need to find my place and my place is with this country.”
Chung moved to the United States from South Korea to attend middle and high school. She was attending the University of California-Davis when she met her husband, who later joined the Marine Corps.
In her education in the United States she said patriotism was not on the forefront in schools. “I don’t think the country put much emphasis on it before Sept. 11.”
Now she makes patriotism a top priority in her home as she makes plans to gain her citizenship. “[Citizenship] was something that I was putting off, now I know I have to do this.”
“It’s not just because my husband is a Marine. My children are American. We teach our kids to love this country.”
A housewife, Chung is responsible for her children, 10-year-old Danielle, 5-year-old Hannah, and 18-month-old Caleb, while her husband is at work. Capt. Chung has yet to deploy overseas in the span of their 11-year marriage but said she knows he’ll be going away sometime in the upcoming years.
“When my husband’s gone I will have to take care of my children, I have to tell them that it wasn’t somebody that took their dad away, that it’s his job, that he’s doing it for them, for us.”
As an old saying in the Marine Corps claims that the hardest job in the Marine Corps is being married to a Marine. Chung agrees the job isn’t easy but wouldn’t want him doing anything else.
“I’m really proud that my husband is a Marine. He’s volunteered to go anywhere. I am proud even though I want him home with me.”
“I think that’s what makes a Marine wife, when others are questioning why you want your husband to go away, you say you want him to be a part of [the war.]”