Your country not your ego


Photo courtesy of Reanna Rodriguez

With respect to our troops, there are ignorant people who join for wrong, ridiculous reasons. Some join the military because they’ll have a chance to shoot a real gun, not one from a video game. Others join to show off their cute uniform.

Stupid, right?

And then there are those that see the military as a last resort. Serving your country should be to earn honor, to gain skills you might never receive as a civilian and most importantly to protect our nation’s liberty. There are thousands of men and women giving up their civilian lives to make sure the people of America are safe. Without the military, America would be vulnerable to the dangers of some foreign countries and natural disasters.

They fight for our freedom and for our chance to be safe in our own country.Having a long history of ancestors who were Army officers and enlisted soldiers, wanting to serve my country isn’t a surprise. It’s what I want and will do. However, there is a different route I’m taking ­— the U.S. Navy. I’ve applied to Northridge, Long Beach and other state universities. Now I’m applying my strength to serve.

I’m still going to college, striving to get my BA in mass communications. Additionally, I’ll be going to training once a weekend per month and two weeks for annual training during the summer at my local unit. Talking to my recruiter, I realized that careers in mass communications are rare in the Reserve unless deployed at a big, active unit. There are many opportunities offered in the military to take advantage of. One just has to be determined on what they want and know what they’re getting themselves into.

There are benefits and that good stuff, but there are risks such as dying in combat or losing a body part. That’s why the military is no joke. You are risking your life.  The many times that I’ve gone to the Sacramento Valley National Cemetery for burials and watched a casket be lowered, I understand the sacrifice these fallen soldiers made — they didn’t die in vain.

It bothers me when people say, “Oh, I’m joining the military because… um… I don’t know.” And then they give a ridiculous reason. The decision they are making is a commitment of a lifetime, because you’re basically the government’s property.

It’s not like they’ll be able to call in sick or decide to quit.  By contract, they are entitled to the requirements listed upon the official paper. So those that chose the military as a last resort better be prepared for the rigorous training and persevere with mental toughness. Without that toughness, one won’t survive the 9-14 weeks of bootcamp and the upcoming years required to serve.

Intelligence, wisdom and courage is what the military wants.

It’s what America needs.

If you are considering joining, be aware that there are tough times, but with your fellow comrades it’s all worth it.

All those emotional homecomings, written letters and humanitarian work will pay off. The honor of serving for our beloved America is sacred.

My friend and I talked about the military all year, about ROTC and enlisting. Now he has sworn into the Marines.

When I asked him how he felt when he swore, he said it felt great. Empowering.

My loved ones have said experiencing boot camp and training changed their view on how to take on obstacles.

They disliked some sergeants for the rough yelling and put downs, but the sergeants guided them to grow as an individual and be the best of the best. It made them value their freedom, their family and their country.

Despite the different branches, they said the same thing, “It changed my life and I don’t regret it.”

And that’s what it’s all about.