This I Believe

Jeff - Columbia, Maryland
Entered on December 16, 2007

I’ll get myself in trouble with this one but what the heck. Life gets pretty dull if you don’t get into a little trouble now and then.

I think it’s time to stop putting soldiers on a pedestal and start treating them as ordinary citizens with a job to do.

The news media portray soldiers as men and women who are competent and courageous, people who make sacrifices to serve our country.

All that is true, but it’s no different from what the rest of us do.

Soldiers serve our country. So do accountants.

Soldiers are courageous, so are police officers.

Soldiers make sacrifices. So do teachers.

Soldiers are competent. So are software engineers.

Putting soldiers in a special category of citizen skews our perspective. It exaggerates the importance of soldiers and diminishes the contributions of people who do other jobs. It also puts undue pressure on soldiers If a soldier fails or makes a mistake, he pays a higher price than the rest of us because so much is expected of him.

I’ll be called unpatriotic or worse for saying this, but I think most soldiers would agree with me. Whenever I see a soldier interviewed on television he seems to have the attitude that what he does is no big deal. All in a day’s work.

Actually what soldiers do is a big deal.

So it what the rest of us do.