A friend of mine recently posted a giant “Thank You” to the military members on her blog. I may not advertise it much (for a variety of reasons), but I’ve hinted at it before. I am a member of the US armed services. Here are my thoughts on my friend’s post.
Thankfully, the military isn’t all blood and guts and war. It is strange the way they try to prepare us for it should we encounter it, but the vast majority of our service in the military consists of performing our monotonous jobs in the same way that most people do every day.
It’s definitely a unique job, but a lot of the time that’s all it is – just a job.
It’s so weird hearing people call it anything else. I doubt I’ll ever see it the way you do, or the way most people on the outside do. Not that your way of seeing it is in any way inaccurate, it just doesn’t feel like what I do.
I’ll probably deploy this year. Not sure what that’ll mean since some deployments still only send people to Africa or other relatively peaceful areas. I could come under fire. I’ve prepared for it, I’m trained for it, and I’ve accepted it as part of the package. But ultimately the military is just a job with benefits that I needed for my family. Yes, my service represents another body filling a role in the United States armed forces, which grants our country the military power to protect its citizens. But I didn’t join for that purpose, so that’s not what it means to me.
But when I’m out there getting shot at, I already know what I’ll be thinking. I’ll be thinking about my family first, then I’ll be thinking about all of my friends, and their safety, and how my decision to support the military ultimately means that they will be protected.
I don’t agree with everything our military is employed to accomplish, I don’t agree with all of the political nonsense that directs my deployments and the battles I could be in. But if I thought for a minute that it would be somehow beneficial if everyone stopped supporting the military because of what our leaders do with it, well that’d just be crazy talk.
We need to support our military. We need people to enlist. We need people to support those who serve. Because if we don’t support them while they’re fighting a war we don’t agree with, then we won’t have their support when they’re fighting a war we do agree with.
I don’t see myself as a hero, but I do see every armed serviceman in the United States as a hero. They are as much my heroes as they are yours. These men and women need all of our support. If we have problems with where they are being utilized, then it’s likely that they do too, and they don’t need our criticism. They need our support. They need our love, and they need us to speak up to the right people.
If you really want to make life better for our servicemen, support leaders who will employ them well. Be vocal about the politics without being critical of the military members. It drives me crazy how many Americans think that taking their anger out on men and women in uniform is going to do them any good. They don’t want our protection? Great. Let’s see how they’d like it if the military up and disappeared on them. I’m sure things would be dandy until some country that hates America (name one that doesn’t – go ahead) realized we have no military. That’d be a great day to be an American, huh?