As I drove around the final embankment of the rolling foothills leading into Summerville Georgia there stood a prominent billboard adorned with an American flag, a decorated soldier, and the words “Dedicated to a sense of honor.” This sign was followed up by two more similar military promotional billboards in that final one mile stretch leading into this small town in Northwest Georgia. I couldn’t help but to notice the words being associated with the proposed decision to join the military these signs were obviously promoting – “Service”, “Honor”, “respect”, “for us all”, and “freedom”.
As each Memorial Day has approached in these last many years I couldn’t help but notice a building awkwardness regarding the way in which I feel the need to support (or not support) the US military and/or our brothers and sisters who have chosen to join it.
It is obvious to me that I neither have all the information regarding the situations surrounding our military involvements throughout the world, nor would I likely know the solutions even if I did, but what I can say for certain is that I have some doubt’s about our motives, and that I would feel highly uncomfortable making the decision to kill, or support the killing, of other human beings based on my limited knowledge and existing doubt’s surrounding the situation. So, now comes the question, is it right for me to support a person in their decision to do this very thing? It seems possible that US citizens, in joining the military, may be inadvertantly working in opposition to the very values that these billboards are promoting. So, what are we to do with this internal conflict surrounding our support for our well intentioned brethren who have chosen to join a branch of the US military? We obviously are to have love and compassion for all who are involved in this sad state of human affairs, and undoubtedly we need to support them in any way possible upon their return, but how do we address our support, or non-support for their decisions and actions?