• If I hear another person bad-mouth military service, while in the same breath talk about how patriotic they are, then I’m just going to explode. Of course, this is not the case everywhere, but I’m talking about your typical 4th of July, flag yielding, BBQ throwing and fireworks celebrating kind of patriot who talks a good game but in reality looks down at those who serve our country.

    Go ahead, wave your flag and cheer for patriotism as you sit idly refusing to put yourself in harm’s way, while others are risking their lives by standing on the front-line to secure the safety and freedom from which you benefit. I don’t mean to be that dramatic, and get all Jack Nicholson (from a Few Good Men) on you, because not everyone in the military stands on the ‘front-line,’ but you know what I mean. Unfortunately, in some circles, its down-right embarrassing to say that you or your child served in the military, because they’re thinking, “I guess s/he couldn’t make it in the real world?”

    I went off on her and took it personally after having completed 12 years of service in the US Navy

    I bring this up because, this past week, one of my co-workers was discussing her 18 year- old son, who was undecided on what he wanted to do with his life and was debating on whether to go to college or enter the work force. She then threw in that he came up with this crazy idea of joining the military. When she asked him where he came up with that “brilliant idea,” he responded that a recruiter had come to speak to them at their high school and told him that if he didn’t like school then the military was the place for him. She nodded her head in disapproval and replied, “No way in hell my kid is going to any military. That place is just for people who have problems, or for parents who can’t afford or simply don’t want to pay for their kids’ education.” I went off on her and took it personally after having completed 12 years of service in the US Navy. I didn’t join because I had problems or any of the aforementioned reasons. I went out of a sense of duty and gratitude to my country.

    It’s sad how everyone wants to reap the benefits of feeling safe and secure while boasting about how great we have it in this country. But hardly anyone wants to do their part to defend it. Much less have their kids join; unless, of course, they are ‘lost or confused and need direction.’ Yes, waving your flag, paying your taxes and being a good citizen does support and contribute to the welfare of our country. However, someone has to physically defend the liberty and freedom that we all cherish. After all, without that, everything else has no value. So, why should it be someone else? Is their life less precious than mine?

    There should be less emphasis and celebration on the elite getting into the best colleges or the best sports programs and more attention on those who set an example by devoting a period of their life to the selfless service of their country. That way everyone contributes equally and we have an elite pool of defenders to choose from. That way everyone does their part and pays respect to those who came before them and made sacrifices for the benefit or others. Only then can we truly appreciate the freedom and opportunities we have. How about showing your patriotism not just verbally, but physically as well by enlisting and/or encouraging family members to join? It should not be seen as a fall-back option, but rather as an honor to be able to contribute in defending the core values of our country!