This is a good question, one that I've asked of myself and some fellow veterans with continuing frequency since 9/11. Because it comes from one of Blackfive's readers, instead of the ignorant but well-washed masses we call our fellow citizens, I'll ask you to show some respect.
Dear Chuck Z: Perhaps the readers of B5 can help me with this quandry. I have been seriously thinking of re-upping after 20 years. I have wanted to since 9/11, but back then, the age limits were a bust. With prior service, I could get in under the wire and be commissioned. It would be a dream come true to serve again.
I keep hearing how the Army I know and loved is so different, why would I want to do it? I guess it's what The One said, and I don't mean Obama. It's not about me. It's in my heart and soul. I want it. No guts, no glory, just the duty, honor, Country. I have all the questions any deploying soldier would have...effects on kids, family, of course. The question is, if you were offered the chance, would you do it again?
Forever a Defender
Here's my answer: No. I have a heart condition that precludes any kind of military service. But even if I didn't have it, I wouldn't join the Army again, and certainly not right now. I'm just not a good enough man to do that, knowing what I would have to give up. I won't make excuses for it. I'm selfish and a coward. But my sincere thanks go to those of you on active duty -- like my brother, a Civil Affairs Specialist currently on duty in Iraq -- who are carrying my slack. I appreciate it, and you are better men and women than I.
Your advice for "Forever a Defender" in the comments below, please.