When a brave, young American, fresh out of high school, with stars in his/her eyes walks into the recruiter's office, he does it for love of his country, a chance to make something of himself, college funds, a new career, and any number of other reasons. No one joins hoping that the worst will happen.
The military is a dangerous occupation. Even in peacetime, incidents occur, tragedy befalls our men and women in uniform. In time of war, it is almost guaranteed to strike someone he knows, even with our superior technology. During prior conflicts, Vietnam, the Korean War, our military did not have the weapons that they have available to them today and more of our promising young men were struck down. More troubling is that our returning heroes were forgotten, ridiculed, blamed for simply doing their jobs.
Today, thank God, we have learned from our mistakes. Our heroes are treated with respect, a lot of the time. They are still mistreated by some idiots, Westboro Baptist Church case in point, and sometimes their benefits are sorely lacking (come on, Congress get a clue), But for the most part, our veterans are our heroes.
We really should pay our military like we pay our Congressmen, musicians, sports players, and give them better benefits and not cut them. Our military lay their lives on the line for us so that we may maintain our freedom everyday. Too many come back broken in body and spirit.
The young man who walked into the recruiter's office and signed his contract so full of hopes and dreams only two years ago now lies in a hospital bed struggling with life changing injuries, PTSD and TBI while trying to make new dreams. He gave his legs, his freedom, his quality of life.... for you. His buddy? He lies in the ground. His family is picking up the pieces of their lives.
Remember them this Veteran's Day.