Sounds like a Man to MEE!
April 30, 2007 8:50am CST
The average age of the military man is 19 years. He is a short haired, tight-muscled kid who, under normal circumstances is considered by society as half man, half boy not yet dry behind the ears, not old enough to buy a beer, but old enough to die for his country. He never really cared much for work and he would rather wax his own car than wash his father's; but he has never collected unemployment either. He's a recent High School graduate; he was probably an average student, pursued some form of sport activities, drives a ten year old jalopy, and has a steady girlfriend that either broke up with him when he left, or swears to be waiting when he returns from half a world away. He listens to rock and roll or hip-hop or rap or jazz or swing... and a 155mm howitzer. He is 10 or 15 pounds lighter now than when he was at home because he is working or fighting from before dawn to well after dusk. He has trouble spelling, thus letter writing is a pain for him, but he can field strip a rifle in 30 seconds and reassemble it in less time in the dark. He can recite to you the nomenclature of a machine gun or grenade launcher and use either one effectively if he must. He digs foxholes and latrines and can apply first aid like a professional. He can march until he is told to stop or stop until he is told to march. He obeys orders instantly and without hesitation, but he is not without spirit or individual dignity. He is self-sufficient He has two sets of fatigues he washes one and wears the other. He keeps his canteens full and his feet dry. he sometimes forgets to brush his teeth, but never to clean his rifle. He can cook his own meals, mend his own clothes, and fix his own hurts. If you're thirsty, he'll share his water with you; if you are hungry, his food... He'll even split his ammunition with you in the midst of battle when you run low. He has learned to use his hands like weapons and weapons like they were his hands. He can save your life - or take it, because that is his job. He will often do twice the work of a civilian, draw half the pay and still find ironic humor in it all. He has seen more suffering and death then he should have in his short lifetime. He has stood atop mountains of dead bodies, and helped to create them. He has wept in public and in private, for friends who have fallen in combat and is unashamed. He feels every note of the National Anthem vibrate through his body while at rigid attention, while tempering the burning desire to 'square-away' those around him who haven't bothered to stand, remove their hat, or even stop talking. In an odd twist, day in and day out, far from home he defends their right to be disrespectful. Just as did his Father, Grandfather, and Great-grandfather, he is paying the price for our freedom. Beardless or not, he is NOT A BOY. He is the American Fighting Man that has kept this country free for over 200 years He has asked nothing in return, except our friendship and understanding. Remember him always, for he has earned our respect and admiration with his blood. And now we even have women over there in danger, doing their part in this tradition of going to War when our nation calls us to do so. As you go to bed tonight remember this shot.. A young boy of maybe 19 standing in the middle of a war zone doing nothing more than his JOB, unquestionably, unwaverenly defending our freedoms. Maybe this boy has a photo of a missed loved one or even a fallen friend tucked into his helmet. Please stop for a moment and say a prayer for our ground troops in Afghanistan, sailors on ships, and airmen in the air, and for those in Iraq. This can be very powerful……. Of all the gifts you could give a US Soldier, Sailor, Coastguardsman, Marines, Airman, prayer is the very best one. I can't break this one, sorry This is a ribbon for soldiers fighting in Iraq . Pass it on to everyone and PRAY! Even if you cannot support the war, please support the MAN that is doing HIS JOB!!!
• United States
30 Apr 07
Thank you for that, I had friends that helped out at ground zero, and friends who had to notify loved ones that their family member was found amid the rubble of the towers and would not be coming home. I now have a son-in-law that is serving in Iraq (his 3rd tour). And yes, he is fighting for our freedoms and even for those that are disrespectful to our country and to our servicemen and women.
10 May 07
Hey i really love the well-written prose passage. It simply has the power to move one. But apart from that, I am more concerned/worried about the circumstances that lead to the creation of such an absurd figure out of a nineteen year old boy. If someone is transformed that way for the survival of mankind, or any form of life on the face of the earth, it is alright. But the life of a soldier, as u have mentioned is about killing people too, as much as it is about saving lives (paradoxically). See, how much of your imagery has become parochial, and show insensitivity towards the life and values of people living outside America. Do we need to nurtute this narrow-minded parochialism and debate about 'enemies' and promote the military culture, or slowy, yet srteadily create a culturethat transcends such ideologies. As long as one is obsessed with the military culture and misdirected nationalism, the war will go on.