Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Gone Too Soon Into The Military

Another 21-year-old soldier died in Afghanistan recently. They say he loved his family, his dog, playing sports and going on road trips. He was a caring brother and a thoughtful son. He was at the cusp of his potential in life.

It makes me wonder if allowing young men and women fresh out of high school into the military, to possibly be killed, is society’s most rationalized misuse and abuse of our youth.

As brave, idealistic and productive as these young people are, they are still shy of being fully mature adults. Their opinions have not yet been formed. And if you could talk to them ten or even five years down the road, they would likely be more mindful of the consequences of their choices. They are the heroes whose loss will forever be felt by loved ones they left behind. They have the gratitude of the nation. Yet, in the dead of night questions must linger. Do we as a nation take advantage of their youth and inexperience, their need for jobs and education, their sense of idealism distorted by the marketing of war?

Let’s increase the age of when people can enlist to take what might be the final journey of their lives to places where other inevitable casualties tragically are other youth caught in the middle of conflicts.

At this writing, in Canada, 18-year-olds can join the military and 16-year-olds can join the reserves or the Military College. Volunteers can join the regular forces at age 17 with parental consent.

Copyright by Penelope Puddlisms