March 28, 2004

AVERAGE

I've gotten this email forward before, and although parts are a bit stereotypcial, overall I really like the image it conjures.

The average age of the military man is 19 years. He is a short haired, tight-muscled kid who, under normal circumstances is considered by society as half man, half boy. Not yet dry behind the ears, not old enough to buy a beer, but old enough to die for his country. He never really cared much for work and he would rather wax his own car than wash his father's; but he has never collected unemployment either.

He's a recent High School graduate; he was probably an average student, pursued some form of sport activities, drives a ten year old jalopy, and has a steady girlfriend that either broke up with him when he left, or swears to be waiting when he returns from half a world away. He listens to rock and roll or hip-hop or rap or jazz or swing and 155mm howizzitor. He is 10 or 15 pounds lighter now than when he was at home because he is working or fighting from before dawn to well after dusk.

He has trouble spelling, thus letter writing is a pain for him, but he can field strip a rifle in 30 seconds and reassemble it in less time in the dark. He can recite to you the nomenclature of a machine gun or grenade launcher and use either one effectively if he must. He digs foxholes and latrines and can apply first aid like a professional. He can march until he is told to stop or stop until he is told to march.

He obeys orders instantly and without hesitation, but he is not without spirit or individual dignity. He is self-sufficient. He has two sets of fatigues: he washes one and wears the other. He keeps his canteens full and his feet dry. He sometimes forgets to brush his teeth, but never to clean his rifle. He can cook his own meals, mend his own clothes, and fix his own hurts. If you're thirsty, he'll share his water with you; if you are hungry, his food. He'll even split his ammunition with you in the midst of battle when you run low.

He has learned to use his hands like weapons and weapons like they were his hands. He can save your life - or take it, because that is his job. He will often do twice the work of a civilian, draw half the pay and still find ironic humor in it all. He has seen more suffering and death then he should have in his short lifetime.

He has stood atop mountains of dead bodies, and helped to create them. He has wept in public and in private, for friends who have fallen in combat and is unashamed. He feels every note of the National Anthem vibrate through his body while at rigid attention, while tempering the burning desire to 'square-away' those around him who haven't bothered to stand, remove their hat, or even stop talking. In an odd twist, day in and day out, far from home, he defends their right to be disrespectful.

Just as did his Father, Grandfather, and Great-grandfather, he is paying the price for our freedom. Beardless or not, he is not a boy. He is the American Fighting Man that has kept this country free for over 200 years.

He has asked nothing in return, except our friendship and understanding. Remember him, always, for he has earned our respect and admiration with his blood. And now we even have woman over there in danger, doing their part in this tradition of going to War when our nation calls us to do so. As you go to bed tonight, remember this shot...a short lull, a little shade and a picture of loved ones in their helmets.


Posted by: Sarah at 03:45 AM | Comments (4) | Add Comment
Post contains 649 words, total size 4 kb.

1 I pisses me off that young men and women can be sent off to war but can't buy themselves a beer. Grrr. Well, at least it's a volunteer army now. But I think anyone in the armed forces should automatically be allowed to drink alcohol. Um, not while on duty though.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at March 28, 2004 05:51 AM (+S1Ft)

2 Don't worry too much about it. They get plenty. I've never heard of one being thrown in jail for underage drinking except on post or in the adjacent town.

Posted by: Mike at March 28, 2004 07:01 AM (00IUf)

3 And in Germany and Korea they follow the when-in-Rome, so all soldiers over 18 can drink.

Posted by: Sarah at March 28, 2004 07:04 AM (BJYhU)

4 This was a good starter today as I will be attending the funeral service for one of those young men (PFC Jason Ludlum, oddly enough).

Posted by: Sandra at March 28, 2004 02:10 PM (wmacY)

Hide Comments | Add Comment

Comments are disabled. Post is locked.
46kb generated in CPU 0.02, elapsed 0.1955 seconds.
49 queries taking 0.1696 seconds, 201 records returned.
Powered by Minx 1.1.6c-pink.