RMN Columnist Surprised Coloradans Still Joining The Military
First, a RMN reporter was "shocked" that citizens of Colorado were choosing to protect themselves and avail themselves of their rights--perhaps under threat by Democrats in the halls of political power--by requesting concealed carry permits.
Now a RMN columnist Tina Griego is surprised that young Coloradans are continuing to choose--that's right--choose to take up the nation's call. That they are given a job in a shaky economy and the added benefit of a paid education is the least we can offer them:
Now, five years after the war began, with the conflict more unpopular than ever, I am again surprised by the numbers. Last month, 435 recruits were sworn in at MEPS, and Maj. Hunt says since Thanksgiving, "We've been slammed. It might have something to do with the economy. I don't know."Gee, now why might that be? Anti-war, anti-military moonbattery doesn't help.
He says the reasons for enlistment have not changed much. Number one is usually that it pays for college.
"Five to 10 percent do it for patriotism," Hunt says, "or because the family has a military background. But those families are like a dying breed."
More from Griego:
So, I return to MEPS and I call schools looking for a particular group of recruits: high school seniors. The war has been a backdrop of their adolescence. Twelve and 13 years old when it began, theirs has been a youth accompanied by the press conferences of generals and pickets of protesters and the sad and steady tributes to fallen soldiers.More maturity than your pampered, trust-funded anarchist activist, like the ones planning to invade Denver this August for the Democratic National Convention.
I wonder how all this weighed upon their decision to enlist. In choosing to join in a time of war, these young people have decided to risk being sent to fight its battles. An abstraction becoming concrete.
I find them as pragmatic and intent on the immediate as Hunt predicted. Perhaps, too, it is youth's invincibility speaking, but they say the war they have grown up with, the war they may join, was simply not a factor in their decision.
It'll pay for college, they say. It'll help make me become a stronger person. It's a ticket out.
And the war? If we go, we go, they say; it's the job.
Not all are so pragmatic. There are still those who feel the call to duty:
I do find exceptions. Eric Gallagher is a Cherry Creek High senior. He leaves June 30 for West Point, a choice, he says, that satisfies both his dreams and his parents'.No, but peer pressure sure can--these recruits are still in high school.
"The practical part is it's a great education. It's free, that's practical. But that's not all there is. Look at who's fighting and there's no one from my zip code dying. It's not a broad range of people fighting. And they're dying for people who are living it up here."
That few bear the burden is wrong, he says.
I learn they grew up in military towns or that they wanted to join since middle school or that among their treasures is the medal of a great-uncle wounded in World War II.
Kerr tells me his father was a Marine and his grandpa fought in World War II.
"I feel obligated to serve," Kerr says. "The war does not impact my decision at all."
But they don't flinch when their moonbat classmates chide them:
This is not a popular decision. West High Senior Chris Hinojosa (Marines) says his friends tell him he's stupid. North High School senior Bridget Romero (Air Force) says people warn her she's going to Iraq.Not all of America's youth are coddled, self-absorbed, moonbats.
"I've just stopped talking about it at school," she says. "People keeping asking me, 'Why?' I don't feel like I have to explain it to them."
Of course, their parents worry. Kerr's and Gallagher's families planned for their sons to go to college. It's taken some time, their parents say, to accept this path. But I hear, too, something like awe in these parents' voices. Their sons are passing a threshold into adulthood and, Laura Kerr and Mike Gallagher say, they are doing so with focus and diligence.
"Raise your right hands," Maj. Hunt told Stewart and Kerr Thursday. Nervous, excited, they vowed to defend the Constitution of the United States. Stewart leaves for boot camp on Sept. 21; Kerr on Aug. 18.
A salute and hearty Godspeed to them all.
And shame on the RMN columnist for continuing to be "surprised" that there are those still willing to fight for our freedom, despite the cost.
Personal note: my brother-in law, a legal immigrant from England, has just completed his military physical. He will be shipping off later this spring for boot camp, joining the Coast Guard. Proud American--and he isn't even a citizen yet!