What Happened Between 1940 and Today?


Today I was reading in the New York Times about reinstating the draft.

As I was reading the various comments from numerous individuals who wrote in, I was surprised at some responses and agreeable upon others. However, I couldn’t help think about how we got to this topic of reinstating the draft and why the American public is at odds over the subject.

I can only recall what happened back in the 1940’s when all American’s were called upon to do their civic duty in protecting our nation during World War II. People responded with a collective “We Can Do It” attitude. That war took almost four years to finish – less time than has now been spent in the Middle East. We pitched in wherever and whenever possible: Enlisting for active duty, giving blood, collecting steel, rubber and whatever else the military needed in order to keep them equipped with the required resources and ammunition necessary to help fight the good fight. It was not only a military engagement, but a civil engagement.

Americans have changed since the 1940’s. There is no common bonding factor, and as a nation, young adults have lost a sense of purpose and responsibility to America. We have become an individualistic nation, which to me, is the beginning of the end for what we lovingly call the home of the free and the brave. We have become too polarized – driven primarily thru the advancements of technology and the increasing attitude since the Vietnam war that, “If there isn’t anything in it for me, why should I bother?”

Well, here’s the sticking point (pay attention because it’s important) – There IS something in it for you. It’s called freedom. We stood together as a nation back in the 1940’s to protect our nation from Hitler and won. Men enlisted by the thousands to help support what was a fundamentally important and basic rule of reasoning as an American citizen – freedom is a privilege, not a right. In order to keep our sovereignty intact, Americans collectively came together and did what they had to do – whether or not they agreed, because they understood not only was their future freedom at risk, but so were their children, and their children’s children.

Today, alot of people would balk at this thought. Uprooting a career, disengaging a family, delaying an education….thoughts like this stop people from forgetting that they are an American first. For myself, would I like my son to be drafted into a war and risk his life? As a mother, of course not. It’s easy for older people to possibly not feel the pain of the younger generation as I write this, but the draft is a test of character and a unification of diverging classes in society. People are forced to work together and remove themselves from their isolated cocoons.

For an all voluntary military, as we have been for the past few decades, it allows people to not think about war because someone else can volunteer….I’m too busy with my career. I’m too busy raising my family. The simple idea of volunteering dismisses the idea that we are “all in this together.”

So, what is your opinion of the draft? What is your opinion of our American society today  compared to what it was during World War II? Do you feel that a unifying, collaborative requirement would bring us as a nation closer together, or do you feel that volunteering should be the status quo and have everyone eventually disengage in American beliefs, throw up their hands and state, “You’re on your own, buddy.”

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