For five years I had the honor to work as a contractor for the Army Reserve. Being a Reservist, especially now, is one of the most difficult jobs there is. As a Reservist, you are called a double citizen. Not only do you perform your regular day job but you also serve your country one weekend a month and two weeks in the summer. Since 9-11, Reservists and National Guard soldiers are likely to be called up for active duty for long periods of time, sometimes of indeterminate length, to serve in the most dangerous parts of the world where the chances of being killed or injured are high.
Reservists are not just soldiers. They are doctors, chiropractors, engineers, mechanics, nutritionists, etc., the people who support the war effort. When their tour is over, these men and women are expected to return to their families and pick up where they left off. You can imagine what is left of your practice as a chiropractor after you have been gone for 14 months. It’s like starting over. These days, a short time after your tour of duty is over, you can be called to active duty again and the cycle repeats.
The financial compensation for serving in the Reserves or National Guard is meager compared to what you could earn if you didn’t leave at all. The toll on spouses and families is significant, yet the Reserve forces manage to achieve their recruiting goals each year. What motivates these men and women to make this difficult sacrifice?
Obviously, patriotism and needing a job are factors that go into enlisting but there is more to it than that. After observing soldiers’ relationships over those years (all branches), the thing that impressed me most was their level of integrity, impeccability and genuine caring for each other’s welfare. Imagine going through the tribulations of war with people who are committed to your well-being and safety, who will carry out orders and keep their word no matter what, who rely on you and in whom you can entrust your very life, people who literally have your back, who stand for something larger than their own self-interest—it is nothing short of remarkable. Where else can you find that?
I wrote a MEMORIAL DAY SONG at the request of an army friend for the soldiers who gave their lives in service of their country. YOU CAN HEAR IT AND SEE THE SLIDE PRESENTATION BY CLICKING HERE.
In addition to enjoying a nice three day weekend signifying the unofficial beginning of summer, I hope you have a thoughtful memorial day.
I would love to hear your comments on this or any other blog post.
Be back with you soon,