It’s a cool, clear, peaceful morning on our hill overlooking the bay. From my desk I can see the neighbor’s cat slinking around our front yard ducking behind rocks and shrubs like a commando. Neighbors with dogs are heading toward the trail at the edge of the hill smiling. The blissful life we live here on the hill is due in part to the men and woman that are doing what our nation requires but what we prefer our children not do, become sailors and soldiers.
Up here we prefer our children follow in the family business, pursue a trade, go to college, become teachers, doctors, lawyers, even politicians if they must but not sailors and soldiers. The hill represents the majority of Americans, citizens who have never served in the military. Of course we want a strong, intelligent, well trained and equipped military to rescue us when hurricanes destroy our cities and leave us in the hands of thugs or to rescue Americans in foreign lands from torture or death. But we don’t want to get too close to the men in uniform that perform those services. We prefer our daughters marry a boy from the hill and as for hiring them, well, they studied at military schools, not colleges. We on the hill have a different point of view, we are antiwar. But if military actions lower gas prices, stabilize world markets and keeps our retirement plans on track we aren’t going to complain. In fact we probably won’t even make the connection.
It’s not surprising the US military draws most of its recruits from the part of society that probably would never have gone to college. But amazingly those recruits not only learn how to function efficiently in an ambush but also learn to master advance skills in medicine, engineering, technology, security and all other trades necessary to run a modern high tech community. In a nutshell they are much smarter than many people think and the media sometimes portrays. And if you asked a soldier about war he would probably say he was antiwar also.
Most days we reap the benefits of our military without giving the men and women much thought. But we should realize that when we call upon them to rescue our loved ones or the people of other countries we are tearing them from the arms of their loved ones here in America. So only after much contemplation and exhausting other reasonable options should we put these brave, capable, dedicated and precious few Americans in harms way.
To those from all branches, past and present, thank you for your service and thanks to your families for the sacrifices they made. And to those that are returning to civilian life, welcome home.