The other day my five year old niece asked me, “Why did you choose to work for the Army?”
I wasn’t sure how to answer that in terms that a five year old would understand. How to explain to her that in order to have freedom there must be a force prepared to stand up to oppression.
But a five year old wouldn’t understand oppression and if you don’t understand oppression then you’re hopeless to understand freedom. That spurs another point/soapbox concerning the first time America had to fight oppression for her own people. If you remember your history, Great Britain was hardly the hardball dictatorship that Saddam Hussein was, but our forefathers certainly felt oppressed by the unfair and ridiculous taxes they were paying…
I wonder how James Madison and Thomas Jefferson would view our current government and what it has become?
To get back on topic; The best answer I could give my little niece was, “I wanted to make sure that you could go to the park anytime you wanted to.”
And the more I thought about it the more I compared our country of perceived freedom to those of oppressive control (which is difficult because I, myself, have never left this country in spite of my service) and the biggest difference I could think of is the presence of Police Officers as opposed to Soldiers monitoring our streets.
At first glance you might think the only difference is the caliber of weapon slung on the respective person’s hip, but I tell you the biggest difference is in the mentality of the respective persons.
A police officer is a citizen first, and enforces the law second.
A soldier enforces, and not necessarily the law.
A police officer is a neighbor from your town or city.
A soldier may be from the other side of the country.
A police officer will view a foreign visitor as a guest to his community.
A soldier sees an anomaly to the everyday norm which is target number 1 if something should happen.
A police officer dresses to stand out and be noticed for the public’s concern.
A soldier aims to blend in and be invisible until the time of aggression.
and if you keep considering it you can come up with many more…
you look into history at what some considered atrocities by our government:
The rounding up of all Japanese-Americans after Pearl Harbor attack.
While the local police officer might feel guilty and hesitant for putting his neighbor on a bus heading to some internment camp, a soldier was willing and anxious to do anything necessary to protect his country.
So thank the soldier for protecting the police officer’s place in society, because only in an non-oppressed society can one neighbor ensure and enforce the laws to another neighbor. While an oppressed society can only be contained by military force.