The Draft


Afte Mike’s death, I find myself very conflicted over Military service. When I was in the USMC during Vietnam I was a young and very nieve 18 year old. Like all young people I had some very lofty ideals and dreams.

As I watched the assembly line training and deployment of young men every day in San Diego I was very much like everyone else. I acceppted that this was a necessary part of war. I was a Marine! Granted I wasn’t allowed in combat but I would be doing my part too in the war effort.

I also had a very strong sense of Patriotism that has always been a part of who I am. All my life I wanted to be in the Corp. I felt all young women should serve too. It wasn’t fair that only men had that honor.

Then the protests started and the body counts climbed. People spit on our returning troops and called them “baby killers.” Big companies got rich off the making of war products. Politicians were made or broken by their position regarding the war. Many principles were compromised.

But through it all I never gave up my idealism. To this day at 56 I still feel that honor, duty, and country mean something. But along with that idealism is a stark reality. My 20 year old daughter and my 22 year old son may be drafted if a draft is reinstituted.

I am afraid!! I am also ashamed of that fear, though I know it is a normal feeling for any parent. Mike’s death has added a new element to my idealism that was missing before. Death now has become personal! The body counts are no longer faceless!

Both have been talking to recuiters for a couple years now. My son would probably be in Iraq right now if his friend hadn’t been injured at home by an unknown assailant. The two of them were going into the National Guard together on the buddy plan. That unit is in Iraq now.

Both kids wanted to go into the Corps, but I discouraged them. I wanted them to wait and make sure they went in for the right reason. I wanted them to do so because it was what they wanted to do , not what they felt was expected of them. See, of six kids in my family, five served during Vietnam. My sister and I were Marines. My three brothers were in the Army. One was an MP and two were paratroopers.

I also encouraged them to go to college first. Both are now in college. But, they still get the recuiters’ calls. Every time one calls, I get this gut wrenching fear. I fear for their safety and I fear I will not have what it takes to be the supportive parent they need. So I am always guarded in my advice and opinions to them as they must be the ones to decide.

Both are very much like me as far as their idealistic outlook. They are very Patriotic. Both believe in the war as do I. They are angered over 9/11. They believe the terrorists threat is a serious world problem. They believe we are at war with the terrorists. Both loved Mike and are saddened by his death.

They want to do something but due to health issues, couldn’t go into the Corps. So they are both are trying to do something to help them get around their health issues. That’s one of the reasons I encouraged them to go to college first.

But every day as I read the casualty reports and see the horrific ways many of our troops and Iraqi die, I am frightened to death for their safety. I am also frightened for the safety of our troops over there fighting. So I struggle with my fear and my guilt of that fear. The guilt of not knowing if my fears are due to the selfish fear of losing one of my kids.

Or is it also because I don’t know if I would have the courage to do what our young men and women are doing now. Defending our country and all it stands for and freeing others so they can make free choices that we take for granted has always been one of my highest ideals.

I think as parents, we must all feel that fear of losing our child in war. I would like to think I am not alone in my fears about whether or not I could do what these young soldiers are doing. Maybe courage is about having that fear, admitting to it, then doing what has to be done.

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~ by devildog6771 on March 4, 2005.

One Response to “The Draft”

  1. Your fear as a parent is shared. I have three sons 19 to be 20 in April. A 14yr old and a 3 yr old. For my older two I am scared. If they bring back The Draft what would happen to my sons? I am afraid to think about it. The experiences they would have scares me. As Americans we have not had to worry about it. It was always the choice of the individule. Now I may have to send my sons. No Choice. I am a single Mother and rely on my sons for much. I would not have them here to help anymore. They would be takin away to places I could not share. I would not understand the experiences. Try as I would I could never even comprehend the toll it would take. I have tried to help my sons to become Men. Now them becoming Men scares me. I support our troops and have friends there, isn’t that enough? Why take my sons also? I am scared.

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