Sunday, May 22, 2005

American Pride

Yesterday's Quick Vote question on the CNN news website was
"Would you encourage a young person to pursue a career in the military today?"
Now you would think coming from a family with a long history of miltary men that I would be inclined to feel military service is as much an honor as it is a duty. There was a time when I would have answered yes to that question.
I grew up in the miltary. My own father, my step-father, my brother, and uncles on both sides of my family all served in various branches of the military. The same is true of my husband's family. When our oldest son, Daniel, graduated from high school we were thrilled that he chose to enlist in the Air Force. When Josh's time came I admit I was a bit disappointed that he opted not to enter any branch of the military. Even when Robby graduated I wanted him to at least consider the National Guard or Reserves.
Oh how a few years can change one's outlook. These days I find myself thanking God that neither Josh or Robby went that route and that Daniel left at the end of his enlistment.
I was talking to a friend recently who's brother-in-law is a recruiter. She told me that to the best of her knowledge not a single graduate from high school this year has signed up . Not for the Guard, Reserves or active duty. Not one. Sadly I'm not surprised. In fact, I look at the world today and I wonder why any young person would choose to enter the military. I know I certainly wouldn't encourage them to. Not because of the war in Iraq. War is a reality that those who choose the military life live with. No, it's because I see how our country and our government treats it's veterans.
Would you be surprised to know there are over 300,000 homeless veterans in this country? Can you guess what a veteran of 20 years receives as retirement pay? It bearly breaks the poverty level. VA hospitals across the country are being shut down. Services are being cut back. The majority of doctors in these hospitals are from other countries. Many of whom's english is so poor they can hardly communicate with their patients.
I won't even begin about education benifits. Or the lack thereof.
No, I wouldn't encourage a young man or woman to enter the military today. There's simply no future in it.

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