still recruiting


Two days ago the doorbell rang. I opened the door to a marine in full uniform.

He asked if he could see Daniel.

I politely informed him that my son had gone to college. The marine, realizing that his recruiting opportunity was gone made a couple of polite comments and then handed me his business card before turning around to leave. Nice young man, but the whole thing pissed me off.

I know that during Daniel's junior and senior year there were recruiters of all military flavors scouring the halls at his high school. Promises of free education, monetary bonuses, and even free clothing were used to entice the students to sign up to serve. We still get post cards in the mail that paint pictures of prosperous futures and glorious careers in return for serving in combat. I am still a little shaken that the marine actually showed up at our doorstep, looking for Daniel by name, knowing where he lived.

It is so messed up.

Don't get me wrong. I think that anyone who has longed to nobly serve their country in the military has the right to do so. They have a right to that choice. And I am grateful for the brave souls that do. But that choice is not meant for everyone.

And so I hate the recruiting tactics. Especially the ones aimed at those who might feel trapped in an economic structure that may prevent them from going to college any other way. I wonder if our sons and daughters are given all of the information up front, not just the bright shiny enticements.

The brother of one of Daniel's friends was killed in Iraq recently. We had never met the boy but we know the family. The boy was 20. (2- years older than Daniel). He was old enough to vote but not old enough to drink. He was old enough to die but not old enough to get a discount on car insurance. He was old enough to make the choice to go into the service but we might raise an eyebrow if he had chosen to get married (because for some reason our culture thinks that at that age you are hardly mature enough for such a commitment).

Of course there is a sense of pride for his brave service and there are no words to express how grateful we must feel for his sacrifice and all those like him.

But I just can't entertain it personally. When I think of that loss I feel outrage instead of respect. I would never want to demean another's sacrifice because that sacrifice was a choice made by that individual. But when I think of the recruiters in the schools I can't help wonder if so many children are misinformed. It frightens me. There is a picture that I can't get out of my head, I don't know why... some sort of visual metaphor for how I see it...

Baby sea turtles when finally hatched instinctually run like mad towards the sea. The sea equals survival. The sea equals life. The sea equals a future. But the majority of these baby turtles are picked up by predatory birds in the midst of their perilous journey never to live life in the sea.

Whenever I hear news of another one of our sons or daughters being lost in Iraq I picture baby sea turtles. And I am haunted by the thought that we might be needlessly setting them out on an endless stretch of sand only to be picked off by predatory birds. Is it natural selection or the result of arrogance and pride?

Let it not be so.

I would hate to think we are feeding our children to the birds for the sake of our own pride.

"When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom." Proverbs 11:2


what a balanced, lovely view on something so horrid blair. very well written.

Thanks Bobbie. This issue is so hard to keep balanced because passions can flare in an instant, especially when you know those that are dying. Your comment is encouraging. I LOVE your blog by the way, and more often lurk than comment. But I gain such wisdom from your thought provoking posts. Keep it up!

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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Blair published on November 2, 2006 12:38 PM.

mac and cheese was the previous entry in this blog.

anti-faith and the ride toward religious persecution is the next entry in this blog.

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