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God Bless The Troops But I Pray My Son Will Never Enlist

Updated on February 21, 2014
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The Blessed Corps

My oldest brother is a what I call a career Marine. I'm not sure if that's the technical term but it's the one I use. He's been away since I was fifteen. My parents signed his enlistment papers allowing him to head off to Camp Pendleton at barely seventeen. It was a good choice because the Marine Corp saved him from his own life. He was on a downward spiral going nowhere fast and the Corp gave him direction, instruction and a purpose. I think it was the first time in his life that he felt like he was doing something right. I can remember bits and pieces of him but mostly, he's gone now. His name is Brent. His MOS was Motor-T which to civilians means he was a mechanic. Thank goodness he was finally getting some formal training because he literally blew up the first car my parents bought him when he was trying to change the fuel pump in the garage of our family home. Prior to the explosion, it was a Porsche.

Military Family

Every generation of men in my family has enlisted in the military. My great-grandfather served his country in WWI and inspired my grandfather to become a fighter pilot in WWII. My father and two uncles fought in Vietnam. My dad came home just fine but my uncles were a total mess. My uncle Mike was assigned the "bag and tag" job and after he was forced to bag and tag his best friend, his life was never the same. Uncle Chuck came home addicted to a buffet of drugs. Upon his return from the bush in the 70's finding drugs was about as hard as finding a naked man at Woodstock. He spent a number of years fighting drug addiction and now, in his early sixties, he is sober less than five years. He has two sons who have watched his addiction and who are hellbent to follow in his footsteps.

My brother has been to Iraq twice. On his second tour, his vehicle was driving quietly down a dusty road when unexpectedly, an IED tore it to shreds. It worked exactly how an improvised explosive device was meant to work. Our family was lucky because my brother only suffered irreparable brain damage. Lucky. Did I say lucky? I forgot to mention the post-traumatic-stress-disorder that randomly kicks in at the grocery store or on Christmas Eve or driving down the street.

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This War

When this war began I was eighteen years old. It was called Desert Shield, then it became Desert Storm. At that time, I was engaged to someone who was in the Army and in Iraq. There were always differences in the things he was telling me and what was coming across in the press about where the troops were, advancement, danger of the situation and so forth. I was a die hard patriot. I had yellow ribbons around every tree, we had a flag hanging out front and I had his unit's flag hanging out as well. When he returned he was different too. In time he explained to me that when you realize that you've taken another human being's life, it's difficult to live with yourself even though that's what you signed up for.

I have the utmost respect for our troops. What they do is a job that I couldn't do - a job that most people won't do and I admit that I am completely ignorant to the fine details of military function in wartime. I'm Joe Citizen - listening to the media and reading what I can.

My youngest son aspires to follow in the footsteps of his forefathers. He would like to be a Navy Seal, Marine Recon or Army Ranger. Lord....bless this child for aiming high. But would you please see to it that he chooses a different path? I've watched too many people go to war, come home from war and have lost their lives with a beating heart. I cannot applaud another enlistment.

To those of you who are still serving, Godspeed and Thank You. This country is severely disabled right now by our XXL GOV. The only thing that has been preserved to some extent is our military. Just so you know, it's raining here. It has been for days. Best to you all.


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    • sean kinn profile image

      sean kinn 3 years ago from Key West and Budapest

      K-

      I like "personal perspective is their fact," that's pretty good.

      You're a good writer. Keep up the good work. :-)

      Sean

    • krsharp05 profile image
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      Kristi Sharp 3 years ago from Born in Missouri. Raised in Minnesota.

      Edward J. Palumbo, It's obvious that you have insight about the predicaments and high-points of being in the military. It's also clear that your son has experienced the benefits of serving our country. I appreciate your input and your family's service to our country. -K

    • krsharp05 profile image
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      Kristi Sharp 3 years ago from Born in Missouri. Raised in Minnesota.

      sean kinn, thank you for chiming in. I think it's definitely a perspective issue and to each person, personal perspective is their fact. This point could be discussed and argued indefinitely. I'm also pleased that you had a great experience during your service. Thanks for commenting. -K

    • Edward J. Palumbo profile image

      Ed Palumbo 3 years ago from Tualatin, OR

      Mr. Kinn,

      I'm pleased you know "what goes on". I believe I have some insight into "what goes on" and I'm keenly aware of the predicament of combatants. With the awareness of "what goes on", I encouraged my son to take the ASVAB and choose among the technical fields for which he qualified, thus he is a USN aviation electronics technician on a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier. I was a field communicator, a radio operator and forward observer. Educational benefits do not outweigh the risks of combat, but they are a consideration for those who survive it. I'm glad your military service was off the charts.

    • sean kinn profile image

      sean kinn 3 years ago from Key West and Budapest

      "No parent of sound mind wants a child in uniform" is a perspective thing. The parents who are not bothered by their children's uniformed service are simply unaware of their predicament. Military service was off-the-charts good for me, but I would still prefer that none of my children serve, specifically because I know what goes on (same thing happened to Presidents Bush, aye). And I'm not arguing the point, although I do agree with the question of whether "'military benefits' ... out-weigh what they went through during the war conflict." :-)

    • krsharp05 profile image
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      Kristi Sharp 3 years ago from Born in Missouri. Raised in Minnesota.

      Edward J. Palumbo, thank you for the excellent comment. I appreciate your input and agree that there are many thankless and ignorant people. Unfortunately I know some of them. While I cannot understand that point of view, I still hope that I will not be writing my kiddos to a military address in times of war. I don't know if the "military benefits" that my brother, my dad and my uncle are receiving out-weigh what they went through during the war conflict. I would have to ask them. I think it's wonderful that you and your son have had better experiences. Thank you again for writing. -K

    • Edward J. Palumbo profile image

      Ed Palumbo 3 years ago from Tualatin, OR

      krsharp05: I shared your prayer that my children would not be touched by warfare, but I recognize the responsibility that idealistic young men and women embrace to potentially put themselves in harm's way to serve our country. The Corps was good to me and for me. My compliments to men of every generation in your family who've served, and I hope your uncles, father and brother are doing well and all the scars, physical and psychological, are healing.

      Interesting comment, sean kimm: "No parent of sound mind wants a child in uniform." I enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps in 1964 and served with 1st Marine Division ground forces in South Viet Nam. I've never had a substance abuse issue. I don't even smoke. I earned a baccalaureate from a reputable university and have committed no felonies or misdemeanors (despite the temptations) in my 67 years. My son is currently on active duty in the U.S. Navy and has recently returned from his second deployment in the Gulf. He has educational assistance and college classes ahead of him, and I am lastingly proud of the job he's done.

      The problem with serving, in my opinion, is doing so for the thankless, witless and spineless social parasites who believe military service is for others - for anyone else. You may have a point; it is certainly not for some. I find your comments offensive but, since your opinion is unimportant to me, I'll not lose any sleep over it. I truly hope you are in the minority.

    • krsharp05 profile image
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      Kristi Sharp 5 years ago from Born in Missouri. Raised in Minnesota.

      sean, thank you for reading and commenting. I appreciate your perspective. You should write about this topic. I would love to hear what you have to say. As they say, hindsight is 20/20 right? Hope you are well, great to have you here. -K

    • sean kinn profile image

      sean kinn 5 years ago from Key West and Budapest

      I could talk about this all day. I definitely need to write some Hubs on this subject, because no parent of sound mind wants a child in uniform. A lot of parents are proud of their children's military service, but that's usually because they don't know what their children went through (or, they do know, and there's not much they can do about it once their kids have signed on the dotted line). If you get stuck, and they do join, there are things that can be done along the way, but I'll leave those topics for my Hubs (if anybody is *really* stuck, feel free contact me and I can tell you some tricks). The real problem with serving is that the person who joins is usually incapable of gaining the perspective of the people who are worrying about her or him. Take me, for example, I did the 17-year-old thing in 1979 and never looked back. I'm fine now, and it was the best (and worst) decision of my life. Anyway, like I said: "talk all day" ... :-)

    • krsharp05 profile image
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      Kristi Sharp 5 years ago from Born in Missouri. Raised in Minnesota.

      Thank you Sam. It's been a long road that's for sure. I'm glad you stopped by.

    • sam209 profile image

      sam209 5 years ago

      Wow, this is very touching! I've never had a family member fight in a war, but I can still feel your words!

    • krsharp05 profile image
      Author

      Kristi Sharp 5 years ago from Born in Missouri. Raised in Minnesota.

      Thank you for the nice comment. I appreciate it very much and you're right. My father's generation didn't get to choose but my brother was begging for the battlefield. He wanted to fight so badly and I don't think he regrets it.

    • BLACKANDGOLDJACK profile image

      Jack Hazen 5 years ago from Blitzburgh area

      There was a time back when your father enlisted that you could be forced to serve in the military. Now it's a choice, hopefully one made with knowledge of the benefits and the possible consequences. Your brother experienced both. All I can say is God bless him.

      I wrote a hub last week entitled "Why You Should Join the Military? (Top 10 Reasons)" that is mostly about financial and related considerations and not the other, what you are talking about here. I'm going to put a comment about your hub on it. Everything should be put in perspective.