Sunday, March 20, 2005
Please, please, please follow the link to read the whole thing.
One of Thunder6's young soldiers asked him a question that I've been asked before:
What SPC Frances said as he sheepishly stood before my desk staring at the floor was “Sir, you’re like, ummmm, you know, really smart. And you’re doing this when you could ummmm, you know, so many other things. Don’t you wish you were, mm doing something better?”.Thunder6 then ran through 20 years of a military career: hardships, sacrifices, physical suffering, and depravation. He also described his face-to-face encounters with inhumanity, with the evil he saw firsthand as part of the struggle against it. He then found a simple answer that should resonate with all who ask such questions:
The question is one I’ve heard from several well meaning individuals, but never, ever from a soldier. If it were possible I would have torn the implicit assumption that question housed and crushed it beneath my muddy heels. Because wrapped in that question like two fat maggots in an otherwise perfect roast sits two false postulates that have poisoned many clear thinking individuals. The first deadly lie is that soldiers are stupid. The second is that the Army is a dumping ground for people with no other options.
I told SPC Frances to close his eyes and I would tell him why. As he closed his eyes I told him to imagine his young wife, his beautiful infant daughter and the future he wanted for them. He paused a moment and a smile slowly creased his face. As he looked up I caught his eyes and told him a simple truth. I told him that the thin line that separates the two realities isn’t a line on a map or the signature block on a document filled with hollow proclamations. The dividing line between the two kingdoms is a long line of soldiers. And that is why I’m proud to call myself a soldier. Its not about a lack of options, or the size of my paycheck. Its about what kind of world I want to leave for my children if I am lucky enough to be a father.Those two big lies need to be squashed every time they appear. Soldiers volunteer to serve for almost as many reasonss as there are soldiers. Many of my soldiers benefit financially from their service, but many do not. All volunteered, all have other options. Some will serve for a a short while – and others will serve for the rest of their lives.
Many of them are very patriotic, but all are patriots, because they answered the call to serve, when their country called.
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