The United States military draft ended in 1973. Since then every American serving in our armed services was, and still is, doing so voluntarily. Our smaller, more streamlined military (the Council on Foreign Relations estimates membership at one half of one percent of our population) means that fewer American families currently have sons, daughters and siblings serving, with the result that fewer families are being directly affected by their absence from the breakfast table.
My generation (I am in my 70s) may be the last to have known and loved people who fought, and in too many cases, died in wars and military confrontations dating back to the beginning of the 20th century.
In my case, for example, my grandfather fought in France during WWI. My uncles and many friends of my family fought in WWII and Korea. My cousins, classmates and friends spent far too many years fighting in Vietnam. My son dedicated 30 years of his life to active Army service with lengthy deployments, including those to Iraq.
My son’s daughter, my granddaughter, is an Army Reservist and when/if called up will be serving in the exact same war that has so affected my son (her father) and many, too many other dedicated men and women.
So my message to the occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, D.C. is this: I am among the millions who take your contemptuous disparagement of the brave protectors of my country, past and present, seriously and yes, personally. Your cavalier attitude toward the very human price that was and is today being paid by my family and friends, alive or dead, is unworthy of any American citizen, least of all of an elected official devoid of empathy, gratitude or respect.
Are you worthy of their respect? Of ours? Of mine?
Kathy Olund, Durand