If you read my blog on a regular basis, you may know that my husband is in the Army. I am the daughter of a retired Air Force officer. I have been around military folks my whole life and I've seen firsthand how it changes lives. Sometimes military service changes lives for the better and sometimes for the worse. The one thing I do know is that it is a legitimate and honorable profession. I get so tired of hearing people, especially those who have no knowledge or experience with the military, disparage it.
Yesterday, I was hanging out on my favorite forum when someone posted about a friend who was an athlete and was being pursued by two colleges to play football. One college was a religious institution. The other was West Point. This guy referred to people at West Point as "douchebag warmongers", which immediately got a lot of peoples' backs up. He later clarified, explaining that he worried that there would be some people like that at West Point. And my response to that is "duh"... because there are people like that everywhere, in and out of the military.
Anyway, I wasn't so annoyed about the "douchebag warmonger" comment, mainly because I was more upset by the people who made comments like "I wouldn't want the military for my kids" or "The military isn't a good choice" or "Doesn't he have other options"? It's as if joining the military is a fate worse than death!
I personally know several fine people who have made better lives and good careers for themselves courtesy of the military. I have a good friend whose parents all but disowned her. She had dreams of going to college and had no way of attending. She joined the Air Force and is now a very successful Lieutenant Colonel who will probably never have any issues finding a job. She's lived in at least three foreign countries, aside from places she has deployed. She has visited places all over the world.
My husband grew up somewhat poor, but thanks to the Army, he managed to attend a top notch private university with minimal debts. He has a master's degree and will retire before too long with a full pension that he will collect for the rest of his life. He has job security.
The military is not for everyone. However, at least in the United States, it is entirely voluntary and staffed by legal adults. It makes no sense to me when people knock military service and try to talk others out of joining. People who volunteer for the service make it possible to keep our military voluntary. After all, this country must have a functioning military. It's better if it's staffed with people who want to do the job, rather than people who are doing a duty because they are compelled to through conscription. Moreover, I think parents should allow their kids to live their own lives and make their own career choices, so long as their choices aren't illegal.
I don't have kids of my own, but if I did, I would be very proud if one of them chose to serve. I think it's sad that so many people think the military is for chumps. They should be glad there are "chumps" out there who are willing to do their part so they don't have to.