A Worrisome Gap, Indeed.
I didn't serve.
I should have. I regret that I didn't. I believe that I would have made a good serviceman. But for whatever reason, I did not.
I now attempt to serve my little community as a patrolman. I don't kid myself about what the job is, and I get paid, so I refuse to accept praises beyond my actual worth.
But every serviceman who signs up for the armed forces of this nation puts himself or herself at risk of being put in harm's way. Yes, even the pogues and the REMFs and the supposedly non-combat support personnel. All may be sent into a hostile country, wearing our nation's uniform. And in truth, our D.O.D. is famous for taking a physicist or an engineer, handing him a rifle, and telling him to march in the front of the line instead of plying his preferred trade. Guys that sign up for easy duty might not get it. That's the risk. They've all got that in common.
But we who do not serve don't often think about those who do, unless someone close to us is in the military. Even now, with our servicemen and women scattered around the globe on two and a half fronts, we forget. Yes, we do.
So I find that the words of Admiral Mike Mullen (head of Joint Chiefs Of Staff) hit home when he describes a gulf between our military and the nation that it serves. He said that we who are on the outside are more and more failing to grasp what those on the inside are experiencing, and what their needs are.
"This is important, because a people uninformed about what they are asking the military to endure is a people inevitably unable to fully grasp the scope of the responsibilities our Constitution levies upon them," he said.Our jobs on the home front are varied, but we all have a duty to this nation. The first duty, it would seem, is to remember.
Maybe, in between the pouring of drunks back into their houses or into jail cells this three-day weekend, I can remind one or two citizens of why we have the holiday weekend. Because frankly, it's easier to forget than it should be.