I have been thinking about the American Warrior Caste for a long time, now. The Warrior Caste is made up of families that serve in the military for generations.
Recently, Doc Russia mentioned it to me when I left a comment at his blog. LCDR Smash had a post in response to Professor Atlas' editorial about the widening divisions between civilians and the military. Those who continue to serve have less in common with those who don't, and this gap widens with every generation.
Much of Professor Atlas' information is based on perceptions and surveys, and it struck a chord in me.
Me? My family had been in either the Navy or Marines since the Revolutionary War. I never had any pressure at all to join. In fact, my mother was vehemently against military service. But still, I went. So, according to Professor Atlas, the gap is widening between my mother's generation and mine.
So why did I serve? Why does a family continually have children that decide to serve in the military?
I think we can definitely dismiss the case for riches and wealth. Some liberals would like to believe that we were "Born to Kill" (think Full Metal Jacket). That's not it either. And while I definitely took advantage of the college benefits, that's not the motivation.
Almost all of us military folks bleed red, white and blue. We tear up when the Star Spangled Banner is played because we imagine Francis Scott Key captured and desparate, hoping to see his beloved flag flying. We tell people at the ball park to take their hats off during the national anthem.
We defend our country no matter who is in the White House. We suffer when the leadership is poor and we thrive when the leader ship is good.
But how does a family serve for generations?
The reason is that there is a feeling of obligation for the benefit of living in a country built on ideas. That we understand that freedom is not for free. That somebody has to defend it. And we are actually willing to do it.
Some of us may feel morally superior because of it. However, I feel that my service connects me to my country, my ancestors, and my heroes and that it gives me a better understanding of the price of liberty. There IS an underlying obligation on us, but it’s not to our families or country, but to ourselves to see if living the life defending freedom is worth it. I tell you it is.
One last thing. Those of us in the Warrior Caste feel more akin to those with the same connections. You can see this for yourself when two of us, who’ve never met before, are instantly brothers or sisters after two minutes of conversation (or blogging). It’s not understood. It’s not implied. It is felt…it is felt down in the deepest reaches of your gut, your soul.
The Warrior Caste serves for generations because it has deep faith. Faith that your leaders won’t send you to the far corners of the earth to do wrong. Faith that your fellow citizens will care for your well-being, keeping you equipped and fed. Faith that our Founding Fathers were right in that fighting for freedom is worth dying for. Faith in your fellow soldiers.
We hope to live up to the expectations of our parents and ancestors and, most of all, of you.
That’s no surprise but it needs to be said.