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For those having served and currently employed in the military, Memorial Day is a solemn day of remembrance. For the rest, it serves as a reminder of those very people who have come before us, laying the patchwork ground of our nation’s founding and continued existence with their shed blood and lives lost and shattered. The utilization of force should carry with it the fullest attempt at matching projected action with internal value. If the action ceases to reflect or even begins to tarnish the value it seeks to support, then force and violence become less a tool of last resort and more a hammer seeking nails wherever they may be found. This connection is why it is incumbent upon the population and their representatives to do the utmost diligence in deciding when to use force. We have tasked our soldiers not merely with the protection of our national interests, but to do so at the cost of their lives and pieces of their humanity.
There was a time when a volunteer army was a ludicrous notion and for the vast majority of the American populace, it still is.
“Less than 0.5 percent of the population serves in the armed forces, compared with more than 12 percent during World War II. Even fewer of the privileged and powerful shoulder arms. In 1975, 70 percent of members of Congress had some military service; today, just 20 percent do, and only a handful of their children are in uniform.” (N.Y. Times)