Thursday, July 24, 2008

Boys and war

One of the books on my boy's reading list from last school year was the US Army Survival Manual. This is one of his favorite books.

He has always been interested in wars, weaponry, military stuff. I don't know why - we are not a military family and I never consciously picked out those kinds of books for him. He is what he is.

He has a great-uncle who flew in VietNam. We only see him once every couple years but every time we do, they end up huddled, talking fighter jets. This year the talk got a little more serious. This uncle is proud of his military service, and of his son in the Are Force. But he also knows what war is really like - not all cool planes and ships and weapons. He was treading carefully - he told me later he doesn't want to scare the boy; he just wants to educate him. He doesn't want him to love war because of all the cool stuff.

I wouldn't want my son to die in a war, or have to fight at all. I don't want anyone's son to go to war! But I know wars can be necessary. I wonder about the current generation who is growing up thinking war is evil: period. Wars are the result of evil and can be just or unjust. So, I want my son to be prepared to be a warrior if he needs to be. I don't mind his interest in weapons; maybe he will design a great and useful weapon one day. Couple of you might be horrified to read that. But war happens, and raising kids who are just "anti-war" and not "anti-evil" is not going to help when the US (or the world) needs warriors.

Or we could do what Gandhi is reported to have advised the Jews to do during Hitler's time: Just give in. Let him kill you all. Cease to exist altogether.

No thanks.

People can be against a particular war but still understand the need for a military force. People could read history (I think they don't, but they could) and see times when going to war was the right, if difficult, thing to do. Now, there are children who say, after being caught vandalizing a war memorial: 'It means nothing to me, I guess it's for some people who died in the war.' That was in England, but I could imagine that lack of regard here in the US.

War may be hell, but it's not going away. Whether we like it or not, we are going to need men willing to fight. Are we raising any?


Sandy said...

Here's the one where I could say a lot but I won't. I'm done. But, if I could talk to you secretly off the internet, I'd say "Keep up the good work, Mom."

DADvocate said...

There are at least a few out there that are willing, if needed. In the rural areas joining the military is still a way up in life, training, money for college, a ticket out of the small town if wanted.

Two boys from Maysville are West Point cadets right now.

I can't imagine defacing war memorials. When I visited the Vietnam Memorial I couldn't hold back my tears. I knew a couple of the guys whose names are on that wall. Every memorial commemorates someone's child or friend.