Thursday, June 07, 2007

Why Did Evan Join the Army?


People ask why, of all people, did my son join the Army. After all, he came from an educated, white, middle-class family and grew up in a quiet well-to-do college town where all the kids are above average, go to good colleges and get good jobs. Thousands of troops were dying in Iraq and Afghanistan—why would he want to get involved in that? Did his family—a notorious nest of liberals-- encourage or discourage him?

I don’t have the definitive answer, but the short one is that Evan really, and I mean, really cares about helping and protecting people, and does not do it half-way. He was in the safety patrol in elementary school. At age 15 he was a lifeguard certified in CPR and First Aid. He can’t pass a blood drive without rolling up a sleeve. He helped lead fasts for the hungry in high school. He played a rough defense on high school soccer and lacrosse teams. He was (and is) an avid student of world politics, diplomacy, and history. He loved team work in school, at play, summer camp, and church youth groups. He never owned a gun, but loved shooting off fireworks-- a weakness picked up from his dad.

You’ll find a lot of people like this in the military. They are not the stereo-typed jar heads some expect. They are people who are driven, or “called” to put themselves in harm’s way to protect others. They are also police officers, firefighters and rescue workers of all sorts. They are the ones you see rushing around car wrecks, like their own lives depended on saving total strangers.

As a parent, can one argue with that? Would one dare to say—“let someone else’s child do it?”

Sometimes, no matter how much we want to and try to avoid it, we need protection from ignorant, wrong-headed, fanatic, abusive, maniacal gangs in the world. When I see people confronted by those gangs; in Darfur, Bosnia, Baghdad, Kandahar, Oklahoma City, New Orleans, and even Washington, D.C., I’m given hope, and am proud beyond words that there are people like my son, ready and eager to jump out and face them down.

1 comment:

Bethany said...

Ditto.