During wartime, recruiters are flooded with patriotic volunteers.  I know there are many Americans who discourage their children from military involvement and there are probaly some who read the previous sentence and simply don't believe it.  But its true.

It must be hard to run the military during peacetime.  Readiness requires that you have many on your payroll, trained-up and ready to go.  But with no place to go, how do you recruit?  Jessica Lynch met with an army recruiter in the summer of 2000 when she was 17 and still in high school.  She wanted the military to pay for her college.  In September, 2005 she began at West Virginia University on a full scholarship as a result of her military service.  Of course, before college she was a POW.

She reported to Fort Jackson on September 19, 2001, one week after 9/11.  The very next day, President Bush gave the speech that framed the war we continue now, a decade later.  Jessica was in one of the last classes of recruits to join in peacetime and be immediately confronted by war.  Her convoy was ambushed on March 23, 2003 and eleven USA soldiers were killed.  She and five others were rescued 9 days later.  She is due credit for joining, for soldiering well and for continuing as a friend of the military even after quitting the army.

A decade is a long time.  Soldiers who join at 17 now were 7 on 9/11 and that is a lifetime to them.  Their parents enjoy the broader perspective of greater experience.  Mark Bratkiv has two boys, Austin and Ethan.  The younger Ethan is three years older than my grandson.  He and Kevin climbed a tree together in August, 2007 at the funeral of Michael Wiltz for PGR RC Glen DeVries.  Ethan is now a cadet at St. John's Northwestern Military Academy.




Each of the boys has attended many PGR missions.  They attended together the funeral of Tony Mihalo.  The older Austin is now a sophomore at Fremd High School where he is a ROTC cadet.  He is show here with Bob Smith, WWR Regional Coordinator.

Even after a decade, there are still Americans who contend that the children who go into the services have no idea what they are doing, or are just doing it so the army will pay for college.    Such jejune contentions are an affront to the patriotism of the recruits and their parents.  Those heedless speakers simply cannot comprehend service for its own sake -- service motivated by pride alone.

Austin, Ethan:  Bravo.  Mark:  Congratulations and thanks.







Update for March, 2012: