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Would You Want Your Child to Serve?

On Veteran’s Day I received a sweet note from a friend – she thanked me (back in the day I was in the Army) and my husband for serving, as well as a handful of her other military (or former military) friends. My friend mentioned that she would be very proud if any of her sons (she has 3) ever joined the military.

Two of the other recipients of this note from my friend did a “reply all” and I was surprised at their reaction to my friend mentioning her sons ever possibly joining the military.

The first response I read is from another friend of mine who has served close to 20 years. He said, “…I implore you, regardless of the state of the world in the future, encourage (your sons) to find another way to contribute. Though honorable, a soldier’s life is far too hard for me to wish for anyone.”

The other response is from someone who recently retired. I don’t know her personally, but she mentioned in her e-mail that she is retired and her husband retired in 2005. This was her response, “…the military is a hard life and has many sacrifices. It changes you in some great ways and in some unfortunate bad ways. Your sons really, really need to be committed to a life of service and accept the fact that what they want might not ever happen because of Uncle Sam. Your civil liberties are out the door when you sign the dotted line…”

I’m curious to see what you all think of the above statements. I am not trying to make this a controversial issue and I truly believe everyone is entitled to their own opinions. I guess I was bothered by this, but I can’t really put into words “why” these responses bother me so much.

For me, I would be very proud if either of my children decide to serve in the military. I don’t expect them to, nor will I “make” then join. My kids are young (9 and 6) and are developing into wonderful little people. I can only hope that whatever they choose to do in adulthood is because they chose to do it. And that they are proud of their choices.

What do you think?

About Joan D'Arc

Joan D'Arc has been an Army spouse since 1997. She started her marriage as a geographical bachelorette and experienced her husband's first deployment before their first wedding anniversary. Since then, she has had two beautiful children who amaze her (and frustrate her) every day. Joan fought her way through graduate school and is now a Licensed Social Worker. Joan enjoys volunteering with Soldiers' Angels and giving back to the military community in any way possible. Joan feels very blessed to be an Army spouse and wouldn't trade this life for anything!