"Oh, We Are So Proud"
by James Glaser
January 30, 2015
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That is what a woman told me after stating that her son was graduating from college and was signing up to join the Army. You would have been proud of me too, because I didn't say, "Are you fucking nuts?"

Although, that is what I was thinking.

No, I stood there and smiled and asked if he had already put his name on the line, because if he had, then what could I say. I was wearing my VFW jacket, so she knew I have been in the service, and she asked me what I thought. I was honest and said I thought it was just a horrible idea. She frowned and asked why.

Well, there were a million reasons jumping around in my head, but I didn't want this lady to blow me off as a total nut case, so I went real easy on her. I told her the truth.

I told her about my years of working with veterans who will suffer for their time in the service for the rest of their lives, and how I suffer for my time served. I also told her that some people join up and have a marvelous time, and get out and live a good life, but it is kind of like the lottery. You never know if your number is going to come up. Some people serve and never are asked to go to war. However, some sign up in peace time, and war breaks out, and they are in the thick of it after just a few weeks or a couple months of training.

I didn't want to lose her, so I said, "Do your son and yourself a favor, and before he actually signs up, why don't the two of you put in just two days volunteering at a VA hospital. That will tell you everything you need to know about why I think it is a bad idea to join up." I also said, "If your son decides to not join up, I doubt you will be any less proud of him."

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