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Sunday, May 31, 2009

The Few, The Proud, The Rejected???

I am trying to figure out when exactly proudly serving your country went from being an honor, something to be proud of to being something to be avoided at all costs or looked down upon?

My oldest son for as many years as I can recall has talked of nothing other for a career choice than serving his country. Sure, his branch of choice has changed a time or two, and his career choice within those branches has changed although always pretty similar.

We have always encouraged him no matter what he chooses and will be proud of him no matter what he does in life, but are quite pleased he wants to serve his country. We just naturally assumed family and friends would feel the same. Apparently not.

With exception of some older generation veterans and those currently serving we have come across alot of negativity. When we told friends he may not be able to enlist right upon graduation the response was "well isn't that a blessing?" Well, no it's not, not to him or us.

Instead of encouraging him in his nearly life long dream, friends and family have done their best to discourage him from enlisting. Several people tell him, "why the hell would you want to do that?" when he shares his desires.

Why would he? Let's see...maybe to protect YOUR freedoms, like the freedom of speech to degrade and insult those who are offering their lives for that freedom.

People of this generation look up to and even worship sports heroes and icons, many who probably shouldn't be looked up to. I personally do not think my heroes should be using drugs or abusing animals or their wives and spouses. Yet, those men and women who are willing to lay down their lives for yours are not given even an ounce of the respect they deserve.

When a young person comes to you sharing with you that they want to serve their country, do me, and them a favor and instead of trying to talk them out of it, thank them. Thank them for being willing to do what many are too afraid to do.

It's one thing to discuss their motives and make sure they've really thought it out, it's quite another to call them stupid, or tell the their throwing their lives away and try and talk them out of it.

Do me another favor, consider writing a letter, or sending a care package to someone serving overseas. At least consider stopping and shaking a service members hand and thanking them for what they do. These are our heroes. These are who we should have our children looking up to, NOT the pop star who can't remember to where underpants, or the sports star who abuses animals not showing any regret.

Our military is completely voluntary. These men and women willingly CHOOSE to serve for YOU, at least show them the respect they deserve.


Paula said...

I found your blog through comments you had left on a different blog. I don't remember the name of the blog, but he or she had written something idiotic about homeschooling. I loved your answer so much that I clicked on your blog! My dad was a vet, as was his brother and his father. My brother went to a military high school, and his son is in the Guard. I'm saddened that friends and family members are treating your son's decision in this manner. I don't know him and I'm so grateful for the choice he has made. Congratulations!

Anne said...

Beautiful reminder, Tara.

Bill Cooney said...

I too was saddened by the lack of respect you and your son have been shown. If it makes you feel any better, what you're probably experiencing is some of the populist rage over certain aspects of our foreign policy. Apparently it is in vogue to criticize the military right now - and by extension - anyone who wants to serve in the military.

You are correct. It is entirely fair game to question someone about their plans or motivations, but disparaging someone's choice to serve our country in this way is - well, the word unforgivable comes to mind.

Please convey to your son that his dream of serving in the military is something most thinking people see as very noble, and something he is right to be proud of.

I apologize on behalf of my liberal cohorts for being wrong on this one.

Tara B. said...

Thank you Bill for your kind words. My son feels very strongly about serving his country and feels so hurt that those he desires to protect not only don't understand or approve, but actually look down on him for wanting to do so.

Larry C. said...