I say forced because where I come from, it’s cook meth or join the service to get out. People don’t understand poverty and lack of opportunity; no libraries, no public services including transportation, no running water, no available (not even for purchase if you have the money) internet, where unemployment runs about 33% — maybe higher because we’re talking unemployed, not those collecting unemployment insurance.
This isn’t about ‘poor me.’ This is about reality. THE chance you have is to join the service. Before, when the draft was still in effect, you knew you’d get called up anyway, so you joined to get out quicker. *
This is why every male in my family has served in the United States Marine Corps or United States Army, regular enlisted. Some of the females did, too.
They didn’t want to go. They weren’t ‘gung ho Joes.’ They enlisted because it was that or jail. They enlisted and when war or ‘conflicts’ broke out, they went.
I don’t believe in hiding them away. I hate war. I hate that the US ‘runs around’ in places where we don’t have an exit strategy or know who we’re training to kill us in more 15 years.
I do not blame our soldiers and sailors. I respect them because they are my family.
When I wear a poppy, I’m not screaming ‘WE’RE NUMBER ONE!’
I’m whispering, ‘Thank you for your sacrifice.’
One of my friends (who served one tour in the US Army and retired from US Air Force Reserves, that’s 24 years service) said yesterday, ‘What are you guys doing for me Monday?’
‘Monday?’ somebody asked. I thought a tic and realised that Monday is the 11/11. Oh…
I’d forgotten. I run a lot of errands for myself and the family. It takes me into lots of shops around different towns. I had seen no displays, nothing that reminded me. I went to one shop after work. They had no displays — this is a shop where one would buy things like this!
I went to a major chain supermarket and they had no displays. None. I went everywhere, not just the places it ought to be.
I was able to purchase blue Jello (which they carry year-round) and red. Nothing else but…
There were two old cotton-tops after I left the supermarket. They were leaning up against a woodpile (really). One held a plastic canister in one hand and a bunch of Buddy Poppies in the other. I gave him a couple of bucks and took a Poppy. I thanked them both for standing out in the cold and told them that I’d come in for blue and red jello (like they care) to make a jelly for Monday.
They thanked me for remembering them.
This breaks my heart.
No matter what you feel about war, they’re humans and you don’t know what they’ve lived through or what they had to do. I’m hardly a patriot** but I have a heart.
* It’s a song but it’s incredibly apt from where I come.
I volunteered for the Army on my birthday
They draft the white trash first, ’round here anyway
** My mother always says that I’m a ‘bad American’ — and that makes her proud.