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"Make us to choose the harder right, instead of the easier wrong"
West Point Cadet Prayer
This is a well-written article about a father who put several of his kids
through expensive colleges but one son wanted to be a Marine. Interesting
observation by this dad. See below. A very interesting commentary that
says a lot about our failing and fallen society.

By Frank Schaeffer of the Washington Post

"Before my son became a Marine, I never thought much about who was defending formal prom party dresses With long sleeve that look sexy
me. Now when I read of the war on terrorism or the coming conflict in Iraq,
it cuts to my heart. When I see a picture of a member of our military who
has been killed, I read his or her name very carefully. Sometimes I cry.

In 1999, when the barrel-chested Marine recruiter showed up in dress blues
and bedazzled my son John, I did not stand in the way. John was headstrong,
and he seemed to understand these stern, clean men with straight backs and
flawless uniforms. I did not. I live in the Volvo-driving, higher
education-worshiping North Shore of Boston I write novels for a living. I
have never served in the military.

It had been hard enough sending my two older children off to Georgetown and
New York University. John's enlisting was unexpected, so deeply unsettling.
I did not relish the prospect of answering the question, "So where is John
going to college?" from the parents who were itching to tell me all about
how their son or daughter was going to Harvard. At the private high school
John attended, no other students were going into the military.

"But aren't the Marines terribly Southern?" (Says a lot about
open-mindedness in the Northeast) asked one perplexed mother while standing
next to me at the brunch following graduation. "What a waste, he was such a
good student," said another parent. One parent (a professor at a nearby and
rather famous university) spoke up at a school meeting and suggested that
the school should "carefully evaluate what went wrong."

When John graduated from three months of boot camp on Parris Island, 3000
parents and friends were on the parade deck stands. We parents and our
Marines not only were of many races but also were representative of many
economic classes. Many were poor. Some arrived crammed in the backs of
pickups, others by bus. John told me that a lot of parents could not afford
the trip.

We in the audience were white and Native American. We were Hispanic, Arab,
and African American, and Asian. We were former Marines wearing the scars of
battle, or at least baseball caps emblazoned with battles' names. We were
Southern whites from Nashville and skinheads from New Jersey, black kids
from Cleveland wearing ghetto rags and white ex-cons with ham-hock forearms
defaced by jailhouse tattoos. We would not have been mistaken for the
educated and well-heeled parents gathered on the lawns of John's private
school a half-year before.

After graduation one new Marine told John, "Before I was a Marine, if I had
ever seen you on my block I would've probably killed you just because you
were standing there." This was a serious statement from one of John's good
friends, a black ex-gang member from Detroit who, as John said, "would die
for me now, just like I'd die for him."

My son has connected me to my country in a way that I was too selfish and
insular to experience before. I feel closer to the waitress at our local
diner than to some of my oldest friends. She has two sons in the Corps.
They are facing the same dangers as my boy. When the guy who fixes my car
asks me how John is doing, I know he means it. His younger brother is in
the Navy.

Why were I and the other parents at my son's private school so surprised by
his choice? During World War II, the sons and daughters of the most
powerful and educated families did their bit. If the idea of the immorality
of the Vietnam War was the only reason those lucky enough to go to college
dodged the draft, why did we not encourage our children to volunteer for
military service once that war was done?

Have we wealthy and educated Americans all become pacifists? Is the world a
safe place? Or have we just gotten used to having somebody else defend us?
What is the future of our democracy when the sons and daughters of the
janitors at our elite universities are far more likely to be put in harm's
way than are any of the students whose dorms their parents clean?

I feel shame because it took my son's joining the Marine Corps to make me
take notice of who is defending me. I feel hope because perhaps my son is
part of a future "greatest generation." As the storm clouds of war gather,
at least I know that I can look the men and women in uniform in the eye. My
son is one of them. He is the best I have to offer. John is my heart.

Faith is not about everything turning out OK; Faith is about being OK no
matter how things turn out."

Oh, how I wish so many of our younger generations could read this article.
It makes me so sad to hear the way they talk with no respect for what their
fathers, grandfathers and great grandfathers experienced so they can live in
freedom. Freedom has been replaced with Free-Dumb. Please pass this on .
. .

"America needs God more than God needs America.
If we ever forget we are 'One Nation Under God',
then we will be a Nation gone under."

Ronald Reagan