Here's my opinion on the whole thing: it was coming. It's actually been being implemented for a while now -- so it's no surprise. Whether we like it or not, all those soldiers just aren't needed anymore as the wars and conflicts wind down a bit. We are still heavily needed in many parts of the world, and who knows what tricks some of the other countries have up their sleeves like Iran and North Korea. We just don't know right now.
But there is one thing I have noticed. There is a lot of tax payer money being wasted right now in the military sector. Ben almost dreads going to drills because most of the guys spend the whole weekend sitting around chatting about the hottest new video game and what movies to go see. He told me that they could easily cut over half of the guys in his unit and still be just as efficient if not more so than before. Also what most people don't realize is that there are a handful or two (or more) soldiers in every unit that haven't passed a PT test in a while. Seriously, who wants their loved one's life in the hands of someone who doesn't take their job seriously enough to get in shape and stay that way?
Sadly, there are MANY soldiers who can't. And if they can't perform their duties, they just shouldn't be able to stay. When the safety of my husband is on the line, I have little sympathy about stuff like this. I think the downsizing can be a positive thing for the military, and can ultimately make it stronger and more efficient.
I do feel bad that there are families out there who don't know what life is like without the military and they will have to make changes. It's all part of life. If Ben doesn't make active duty after he graduates, I am confident that we will be able to find something else he will love as well. I'm really not too worried.
Does anyone really remember what the general attitude about the military was BEFORE 9-11? I certainly do! I was almost 21 when the Twin Towers when down. I remember EXACTLY where I was and what I was doing. And it was then that I really started to appreciate our military, before that I thought they were geeky. Seriously.
When I was in high school in SLC, they had a Jr.ROTC at our school. The nerds of the school were cooler than the ROTC guys... no kidding. We all thought they were freakin' weird. Everyone stayed away from them and they only really had friends among themselves. My guess what that they only had the nerve to do it because one of their parents was military. I thought they were so nerdy, that once I met this guy I really liked from another school then when I found out his was JROTC, I sent him packing in the same minute. I know, shallow... but so is the life of teens right?
Then when I moved down south to the country, lots of guys were in the "real" military, not play-acting like I thought the JROTC guys were doing up north. It was very common for guys (and girls) to join the local National Guard unit while still in high school. I wasn't really excited about the whole idea, but my steady boyfriend at the time wanted to join because his older brother had. So I put up with it, but I didn't like it. I didn't tell anyone he was military, and I got embarrassed if I was spotted with him while he was in uniform. I know, I was a jerk. But that's honestly the way a lot of people felt back then, especially my generation. This new generation has become used to knowing a couple of people serving, and used to wartime.... it wasn't like that in the 90's, even after the Gulf War.
I think some people are afraid it will go back to being like that. But I don't think so. I think most of us remember 9-11 and the great sacrifices our men and women in the Armed services and their families have made for us and our freedoms. People just don't forget things like that no matter what they say.
I have a good feeling about the future, no matter what it holds, and I look forward to being a part of the history of this great nation.