Military Finding Oneself in the Essay

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That is why I became Treasurer of the Wives Club, out of gratefulness for this extended family. I know many people of my generation struggle to find 'who they are' but the structure of the military offers a potent and compelling answer to that question. To serve means always to be at home amongst people who understand exactly what you are going through: "Home is the place where, when you have to go there, they have to take you in" (Frost 118-119).

Being in the military does not mean, contrary to conventional wisdom, that one must obey an unthinking policy of 'my country right or wrong.' The men and women in the military must obey because soldiers cannot afford to question every order and live, however, this does not make them unthinking automatons -- far from it. In fact, soldiers think more about the great questions of life and death, more than any other group of people I have ever encountered. "The law might contradict my moral impulse, but the right thing to do is obvious" (Martinez 580). When making split-second decisions outside of the bounds of orders, soldiers must rely upon their training, discipline, and their own moral compass.

My husband has experienced such moral quandaries firsthand: "I tell myself I did the right thing. I tell myself I did the wrong thing. I tell myself every decision on the line is like that, somewhere in between (Martinez 583). When my husband's squad was setting up cordon around a suspected IED (improvised explosive device) on a corner of a busy downtown market area in Iraq, he was given word to be on the alert for possible suicide bomb attempts by young children fooled into carrying backpacks filled with explosives. They had already found a small child who had been wearing a backpack that had detonated prematurely. Soon, his squad noted a small child with a suspiciously new backpack who was walking, asking the troops for candy.
It was uncommon for Iraqi children not to be traveling in packs. After careful observation it was determined that she was indeed carrying an IED inside of her backpack.

The order was given to my husband to fire if she came inside of their cordon, as to penetrate past that line would mean certain death for all of the soldiers. Despite the interpreter's shouts for her to go away, the child kept walking forward, unaware of the danger. She crossed the street. My husband fired one round into the child; the round went through her, into the backpack, causing it to detonate. The entire time that he followed the child through the scope of his rifle, he kept thinking of our niece and how this little girl was somebody's child, someone's niece. A child being used as a tool of war. Yet if he had not fired the shot, the backpack would have detonated, killing not just the child, but his entire squad -- all of whom were people's nieces, nephews, fathers, sons, daughters, and mothers.

These wartime situations are terrible -- but far more terrible to hide from them. That is why I am proud I have served, and my husband serves. We are part of history, part of war, and also we hope, we will soon be enforcers of peace.

Works Cited

Frost, R. (2009). The death of the hired man. In G. Perkins, & B. Perkins (Eds.), The

American Tradition in Literature (12 ed., Vol. 2, pp. 888-891). New York City:

McGraw-Hill Higher Education.

Iyer, P. (2000). The empire. In The global soul: Jet lag, shopping malls, and the search for home. (pp. 234-265). New York: Alfred A. Knopf.

Martinez, R. (2007). The crossing. In C. Colombo, R. Cullen, & B. Lisle (Eds.), Rereading

America: Cultural contexts for critical thinking and writing….....

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