I've bitched a bit recently about how much I am not enjoying this academic year, but I think a bit of perspective is not a bad idea. We have neighbors who are good people and have kids who are in a financially tight spot. The neighbor's kids (who are roughly our age) have been squeezed by the economy and find themselves with two daughters and one part time job between them. Both were employed before the economy shit the bed, but it's a different world now. They no longer have their own apartment and are struggling to make ends meet.
Our daughter spends a good amount of time with their kids, so we know them well enough to know how things are going for them. After months of trying to make a go of things the way they have unfolded, they have made a drastic choice. Dad is going to Afghanistan.
There are many reasons to enlist for military service, many of them honorable and well thought out. However, it pains me to watch a young couple with two young kids decide that their last option is placing a member of the family in harm's way, in the hope that he will survive and that the benefits of military service will help them stem the tide of problems they have faced.
As pointed out recently by CPP, the trend of military service being more populated by the less economically privileged is nothing new. Fundamentally, I knew this, but seeing it played out in front of me in such a blatant fashion brings a lot home. I can't say that I agree with why we're in the wars we are in, but I can't see a reason not to support those who are there, fighting on the order of our country.