Only gestures and lapel pins aren’t adequate. Spread sacrifice beyond the volunteer army.

Story Highlights
Even though I’m military veteran, I was scolded at one baseball game on the way I expressed patriotism.
But from the draft’s end,  smaller population percentage volunteers for serving.Many take the service just for granted with only simple gestures which should change.While I was standing within a cemetery on the Memorial Day, all surrounded by sea of little American flags and grave markers, I thought about patriotism’s true meaning and a training game in spring I had attended before in this year.

My eldest brother rests in the cemetery of veterans. He earned the right to be buried here by getting enlisted in Navy during War of Vietnam, one conflict I cannot stop to think about in that baseball game when a man said I was being unpatriotic.

This criticism was from the guy who scolded me about not putting hand on my heart while the national anthem was being sung. I removed my hat respectfully but didn’t join him along with the others putting my hand on my chest. After the singing of Star Spangled Banner finished, he rudely asked me if it was too much to show a bit of patriotism.
I told him that I showed that at the time I volunteered to be in military service while Vietnam War continued. I asked him which service branch he served to which he didn’t have anything to say.

Ironically, after two years of the Memorial Day in 1971 was national holiday as military draft had ended. Though it wasn’t perfect, it made defense of the nation an obligation of wide Americans’ cross section. Ending of the conscription has led to narrow the base of population from where the military of nation is drawn along with making military service less democratically ideal.

Wars in Afghanistan and Iraq after 9/11 are fought with smallest of the Americans’ share in armed services, according to Pew Research Center’s report in 2011.  During the World War 2, about 9% of the Americans served the military. From the start of wars after 9/11, less than only one-half of the 1% population is in armed services.

In 2011 also, a survey by Defense Department found 57% of women and servicemen on duty actively were children of former or current military members. So, it’s not surprising to some that composition of armed forces today looks more a family business rather than military force drawn from nation’s population widely.

Sadly many Americans tend to have grown quite comfortable with the idea. For many, patriotism is reduced to simply the act of hanging flag on front porch, covering heart while patriotic song is sung or wearing lapel pin.
A nation demands more of the citizens. It ought to require all the Americans who are able-bodied to do national service of some kind. If not military, then in any national organization as Corporation for National & Community Service that is federal agency which makes the volunteers be of service to the disaster victims, the elderly and the poor, thus making them help combat such problems which pose greater threats for the nation rather than al-Qaeda’s attacks from its fractured parts.

America is in need of more patriots such as military veterans honored on the Memorial Day. Also, it needs the Americans who wouldn’t join armed forces for serving the nation in a meaningful way.

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