Today is Memorial Day. Many will be enjoying picnics, parades, and playtime! Nothing wrong with that. But some people aren’t here today. They are overseas in Afghanistan, The High Seas, Iraq, Germany, Japan, etc. Or they served their country in previous wars and are now gone. Let’s not forget. We enjoy our picnics because others have paid the price.
I thought it might be interesting to find quotes from those who have served in the military as to why they joined and what they gained. Below are a list of answers by anonymous people that I do not know and yet respect all the same. If you happen to be a current or former member of the military reading this, please add your own comment at the bottom. We would like to know who you are. And thank you.
~ Drafted at 20 during the Vietnam war. Didn’t want to go, but avoiding the draft in any way was not a legitimate moral choice. Was the best thing that ever happened to me. I grew up a lot, had the privilege of serving my country, and learned the true meaning of sacrifice. I would strongly encourage any young person to spend a year or two doing something outside themselves either serving the country or the community in some way. It’s not only good for the country but good for the individual.
~ I joined the USAF at age 20, in 1965. I had dropped out of college due to boredom and was working a dead-end job. After my service, I returned to college, with a new sense of the importance of an education. I recommend a tour of duty for all young men. It’s a real experience that is more important than college at that time.
~ My husband joined right out of high school. Got his masters over the years. He has no regrets. Traveled, learned, grew, developed, was mentored, mentored others, and is thankful for the opportunities it affored him and then our family. NO regrets at all. Career man. Military put us where we are today. It was wonderful. More young people should join. Guides their lives, turns some of them around, helps them decide on what they want to do, gives them a focus and makes them strong to face life. It’s a GOOD thing.
~ 20 years old. A friend of the family was an instructor at the winter survival school for pararescue. So, AirForce was my choice….and a wise one at that. IMO, every American should spend 2 years in the military. It’s the LEAST they can do for our country and will make true men and women out of them.
~ Joined at 17….to get out of NJ, see the world…..went to Paris Island at 18…stayed in for 11+ years and still miss it (sometimes). Best thing I ever did. Made some friends for life. The Few. The Proud.
~ I joined the US Navy when I was 17. I wanted to serve my country. I volunteered for air duty in Vietnam. I have no regrets and would do it again.
~ Joined USAF in 1960 mostly to try and find what I wanted to do. I was a HS drop out and was really going nowhere. It was the best move I ever made. I finished my HS education (GED) and went on to get a couple of years of college while in the AF and finished up college when I got out in 1964. Even though I griped and moaned the entire 4 years (3 in the UK) they were some of the very best times of my life. The military taught me discipline and how to focus and look past the next beer or day off. I would do it all again and in fact would gladly have gone back after 9/11.
~ I served for awhile in the reserves in the 1980’s, and I’ve recently re-joined to see if I can help out with the global war on terror. For me, the experience has been phenomenal. I got in to serve others, but the real beneficiary is myself, in terms of confidence, fitness and strength.
~ Enlisted in the Army at 18, wanted to be on my own. Wasn’t quite ready for college, and didn’t want to flip burgers. Taught me respect for country; to this day I cannot listen to the national anthem and not get teary-eyed. Best thing I ever did. When I got out I had almost $30,000 for college. No regrets, and look back with pride.
~ I joined the Army when I was 19, looking for adventure. Found same. There were other reasons of course, too many to list, but ‘the money’ was definitely not one of them. Do I regret it? Not in the slightest. Would I recommend it? Only for those that are willing to risk their lives for their country, their friends, and their way of life. You’ll always have brothers and sisters in the Army if you feel that way. As far as specific recommendations, each service has it’s own personality, and people generally drift towards the one they’re most compatible with. Job selection varies quite a bit, but again, people gravitate towards what they’re good at. I would definitely not recommend the military for everyone. However, I would say that I’ve seen things my civilian peers never will, and am far richer for the experience. (If a little banged up in the process.) I wouldn’t trade the experience for anything.
Featured Image American Flag With Blue Sky by Vera Kratochvil