I don’t like war. I’m smart enough to know violence appears necessary these days, but I don’t have to like it. It would be a wonderful thing if things could be worked out some other way, but I’m past 40 and…I’m just not that naive anymore. I may have to accept war for now, but I will not propagate or tolerate the propaganda, the machine, especially the recruiting.
When Cotter starts school every year there’s a form I have to sign, I go out of my way to find it. It’s the form that states according to some statute the school is required to release the names of high school students for the purposes of military recruitment. As a parent, if you sign the form they can not release your child’s information. I sign the form, every year, I sign it.
Does that make me UnAmerican because I will not allow my son’s information to be released for the purposes of selling him on joining the military? I don’t think it does, because here’s my issue. If our son decides to join the military, as many young men and women do, he will do it when he is an adult, hormones regulated, emotional roller coaster of high school over. He will make the decision to serve his country on his own, without pressure. He will not be targeted or backed into a corner on a bad day when he sees no other options.
I understand the military needs to recruit, they need people. But the methods, in my humble opinion, are not okay. Men and women need to know what they are getting in to, they need to be informed and educated about the decision they are making. That education should not come in the form of a rock music laced commercial in a movie theatre or a flashy brochure presented by a strapping soldier in uniform on a school campus.
Men and women die in war. They need to be told that. I’m sure it’s scary and lonely and hot. They need to be told that too. You could come home wounded and you will most certainly be changed forever. That needs to be in the pamphlet. Then they can make a real and informed decision about their life and not simply bolster a recruiter’s numbers.
If you are of sound mind and mature enough to make such a life choice, then it is yours to make. There are tremendously brave men and women that make the decision every day and my gratitude knows no bounds. They represent our country and protect not only our citizens, but people all around the world. For many of them I am sure the mission, the honor, outweighs the risk.
This Monday is Memorial Day, a day to honor those soldiers that have fallen, lost their lives for their country.
I recently listened to a story of an Iraq Veteran (click to listen) who lost is entire squad, his picture is above. He’s a marine, but first and foremost, he is a human being. His story broke my heart and his pain is real. His story is war and there is no soundtrack. If my son ever decides to join the military, he will do it with his eyes wide open.
For all the men and women that have served this country and died for it’s causes and missions, Thank you for your service. May you and your families find peace. For the men and women currently in harm’s way, God’s Speed and Be Safe.
My thoughts from the laundry room. Kick the Covers Off.