I am going to make a confession. I knew of absolutely nobody in the Army. My hometown of Bethesda, Maryland is very wealthy and very liberal--not exactly prime Armed Forces recruitment territory. I wouldn't say we're anti-troop or anything like that, but serving in the Armed Forces just isn't something we do. Folks graduate from High School, and go to college. In most cases, they don't need the money that the Armed Forces provides, or anything like that, so there is nothing "pushing" them into the military. People who have a desire for selfless service are far more likely to join the Peace Corps or something.
I have a friend from High School. She lives in a giant house in a very nice part of town. She's playing Varsity soccer at a D-1 school in the Northeast. A few days ago, I check her AIM profile and what does it say? She's joined the Army Reserves, and she'll be going to boot camp in a week. She was away, but I sent her an IM asking if it was true, and if so, how impressed I was.
We chatted today, and I asked the usual questions: What motivated her to join (her dad was in the Army, and she always looked up to him), if she was enlisting or doing ROTC (the former, but she might go to Officer Corps after she graduates), whether she'll be sent to Iraq (not likely, only if they want reservist MP units in two years). I told her again how impressed I was. She said thanks, and told me that everyone she knew was only talking about how she was going to die, and how worried they are. Which I am too, to be honest. But I'm proud as well.
A girl from well-off surroundings, in a extremely liberal part of the country (though she herself is conservative), thriving in college, who decides that she wants to make the sacrifice to serve her country. With Army recruitment way down, stories like this are all the rarer--and all the more worthy of our thanks. And while she'll kill me for writing this post, I honestly am inspired. She has far more character and courage than I do.
DK, I salute you.