The military as a way of life

I would like you to take a moment to think about the military: your Marine Corps, and your Army, your Navy, your Coast Guard, and your Air Force.  Oh, it's nice when someone sees my Marine cap and thanks me for my service.  It was a privilege to wear the uniform.

But saying "thank you" isn't the support your military needs.  I say "your" because as a taxpayer and an American citizen, the military not only protects you, but belongs to you.  If it fails, the country fails, and your way of life fails.  What is happening in Ukraine can happen here.  It will happen here without a strong military.  The comfortable life, the freedoms you take for granted, even life itself can be lost.  Without a strong military, they will be lost.  Si vis pacem, para bellum.

Service in the military has gotten a bad rap.  I saw a tweet from a college woman that said, "People go into the military because their [sic] too dumb to go to college."  A Marine tweeted back, "They're."

Many teachers, principals, and college professors actively discourage young people from serving.  But they would be the first to scream if they had a government like our near-peer adversaries Russia and China dictating educational policy.

Service in the military often enhances a person's education.  I was a "D" student in high school.  My skipping record will never be broken.  No way was I going to college.  But four years in the Corps gave me tenacity, resiliency, and self-discipline.  I thank God daily for my drill instructors.  At 76, I've had a happy and successful life.

After the Corps, I earned a B.A. in Government, getting As and Bs.  The year I graduated, I was elected to the Massachusetts state Senate, defeating an incumbent by nine votes.  I served five terms, earning a Master's at night and serving six more years in the Marine Reserves.  Then I had a successful 31-year career in association management.  In 2013, I had to retire to have a lung transplant; in 2020, the V.A. took the other lung out.  Marine self-discipline carried me through against the odds.  After my transplant, I worked four years as a part-time writer-editor at the V.A.  Now I teach chess to kids after school for YEL.

Those who don't want to go to college may learn a trade in the military.

Can they get hurt?  Sure.  But young people also die at home from drug overdoses or driving drunk.

So encourage young people who might qualify (a majority don't) to consider the service.  Most will come out better people, better disciplined, better able to cope with work, life, and getting an education.  Then you can thank them for their service.

Image: PxHere, Robert Couse-Baker.

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