Armed Forces

dictionary with letter A

Armed forces: (n) a country’s military forces, especially its army, navy, and air force.

I came of age in a time when joining the armed forces produced the great possibility of returning home in a body bag.

It was not very appealing–especially since I was surrounded by friends and peers who abhorred a war where other friends and peers were going–and disappearing from memory like a puff of smoke.

So even though I am greatly appreciative of those who serve our country in the military and I understand the concept, I find it difficult to celebrate any evil, even if it’s a necessary one.

Killing people is deadly, whether it’s in defense of the innocent or to follow the maddening instructions of a crazed dictator.

I know that philosophically and spiritually, there is a distinction. But since I have been around human carnage in my lifetime and can still recall the smell of blood, my stomach becomes a little queasy when too many flags are waved and too many young men and women march off for a cause.

I look for that ground where I can stand, which permits me to support the troops without ever supporting the wars. Most people will not grant me such turf. No, I must applaud the death and destruction along with the dedication and determination.

It leaves me in a quandary.

When I was a young man I had a friend named Bob who, within a two-month period, received his draft notice, went through basic training and died in battle.

It shouldn’t be that easy to kill someone. It should take more than sixty days, don’t you think?

So chalk me up as one who is tearfully appreciative of the service of my fellow-Americans as they guard against tyranny–but also as one who will struggle against another war.



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