Serving in the army In America, serving in the army is often associated with respect and honour. From an outsider’s view, America has always been a very patriotic country based on a strong passion for freedom and democracy. So is that the driving power that makes so many young American men and women to enlist themselves in the Army? Yet it seems that not everyone looks upon the army with the same amount of respect, and maybe America today isn’t as patriotic as it used to be.
In the text “A soldier’s story: War affects whole family” the parents of Army Sergeant Ryan Kahlor express their recent opposition to the army, after their son’s traumatizing experience. Ryan Kahlor’s father explains he had felt a patriotic surge after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, and had therefore been proud of his son joining the army. But his thoughts about the war already changed during Ryan’s first tour where he complained about ineffective body armour and poorly armoured vehicles. The war has left Ryan with a series of complications, both physical and psychological.
He says that in combat there is no time to grieve, and when you see a friend die you just go back to work. And he explains that without the help from the National Center for PTSD, he’d probably be dead. But Ryan still suffers from survivor’s guilt and still has a lot to work on. Yet it seems that he doesn’t regret his time in the army because it has matured him and made him stronger and more confident. The only thing he has to say about the war, is that they are fighting for peoples’ right to speak out. His parents, however, wish that he had never gone in. The text “The Making of a Marine Officer” illustrates a different look upon warfare.
Lieutenant Fick, a former marine officer explains that the marines made him become a man. He says he joined the marines in search of a transformative adventure that could make him stronger and more capable. In the marines you develop a powerful group and a strong bond with the men you fight with and therefore the men in the same combat units tend to keep in touch for the rest of their lives, and there a only few who have the honour of understanding the sacred brotherhood that develops in combat. Fick explains that he grew up in the marines and it taught him the meaning of words like duty, honour and love and to be a citizen.
But he already left after two tours of duty because he could kill when it was called for in combat, but he couldn’t do it again and again throughout his professional life. Sarah Palin expresses her opinion about serving in the army in an autobiographical text called “Why They Serve”. She believes that young American men and women choose to serve in the army because it is about fighting for freedom and democracy and fighting for America. And they are willing to sacrifice their lives for a cause bigger than themselves, for defending freedom.
Sarah Palin is excellent at engaging the reader in her ideas. First off, she appeals to the everyday family by showing herself as an ordinary mother: “I was just one of thousands of proud but wary American women. ” She makes it easy for people to relate to what she is saying by using a lot of references to her own personal experiences and feelings, using the appeal form pathos, like: “When I think of Track (her son) and the young women and men he serves with, I am filled with a genuine sense of awe” and: “For Track, the reason he serves starts with his family. …) He wants a world that is safe and welcoming for them. ” She also appeals to people’s patriotic feelings, saying that they, in America, are privileged and they live in a completely unique country “founded not on a particular territory or culture or people, but on an idea. That idea is that all human beings have a God-given right to be free. ” And therefore, when people serve in the military: “They are defending the idea of America itself. ” At last she also uses the appeal form ethos by quoting both John McCain and Ronald Reagan.
So by using all of her rhetoric skills, she can easily convince a lot of people to believe in what she is trying to convey. I think Sarah Palin is on the right track concerning her ideas on what motivates young people to fight for their country. I think that defending democracy and freedom and defending what your country stands for, is a very big motivation for young Americans. And I believe that a lot of young people are willing to risk their lives to defend the values they have grown up with and believe so highly in. It can also be a big motivation that they are elping someone else. They are fighting for someone else to have a better future and to make broken countries work again. But sometimes the media and politicians idealize war, mainly in patriotic countries like America. Sarah Palin is especially idealizing war as a very honourable and brave act, which can encourage a lot of young people to seek that recognition of being brave and admirable. Following September 11, a lot of people felt very angry and vengeful, not only in America but in other democratic countries as well, and therefore they wanted to see justice done.
Also, nobody wants something like that to happen again, and some young people might thereby find the urge to defend their country from terrorist attacks and be a part of the war against terrorism. The mindset of the people around you is also very important when making the choice of joining the military. If your parents frequently express their support to the troops or their hatred toward terrorists, it might feel natural to join the army, and I can imagine that many young people feel as though they are doing something that matters and feel righteousness when choosing to fight for their country.
Then again, there are also the ones who are only doing it for the thrill, the experience or the money. Furthermore, being at war gives you life-long friendships and can give you an exceptional feeling of belonging and being a part of a brotherhood. Being a part of a brotherhood like that can be very attractive if you have a broken family or a feeling of not really belonging anywhere in the society. Being at war can also teach you a lot of things about death and life when it is as rough as it gets.
Being close to death may even give life a higher purpose or meaning. Some people might just be bored with the trivial everyday life of the western culture and are missing some challenge or excitement, which the warzones offer. At last, it can’t be denied that many people only choose the military because it is their only chance of making some kind of career because the military will provide their education.