Friday, October 07, 2005

Middle America Military Recruiting

The New York Times is examining recruiting in San Antonio, which came closest to meeting its recruiting goal for the year out of all areas. Having been from San Antonio, it's easy to see why. I grew up in a family that honored military service. My grandfather had been in the Air Force (and Army Air Corps) and my grandmother constantly told me it was a great way to live. I chose not to join the military, but several people from my high school did. Judson High School, which is detailed extensively in the Times article, was the school nearest to my own (about 4 or 5 miles I would guess). Since my parents moved, it's now the school I would have gone to. As it is, it was our biggest rivalry and my senior year, both schools won state football championships in their respective divisions. My school was much smaller, but outside of Texas H.S. football, there was a strong military tradition. Our ROTC program was highly decorated. They often won championships both locally, statewide, and nationally. Their accomplishments were detailed during morning announcements and one day each week they wore their uniforms. Their decision to join ROTC was uniformly respected, even by those who could fairly be called hoodlums.

My high school was highly diverse--I believe the most diverse in my district. Its attendance area encompassed both a fairly upper middle-class area and large lower middle-class to lower class areas. The ROTC program was joined by people from all areas. Furthermore, two of my classmates who went on to college chose to enlist after graduating from college. They did not do so for the reason that many on the left might claim--free college degrees--they had already earned theirs. Furthermore, they did so not out of despair--they were both from comfortable families with one having two parents with PhDs one of whom was a college professor. One, who was in the Marines, has been to Iraq. The other, in the Air Force, has been stationed stateside. In addition to those, many more took appointments to the various military academies--including some of our top graduates.

The sense of patriotism and pride in America felt by those students was palpable. I think it's true of most of the middle of the country. The area many on the coasts disdain as "flyover country." For those of us who have lived there or grown up there, we know it is the heart of America. I can't speak for Judson, but I know the students at my high school voted to say the pledge. It wasn't forced on us, and certainly, our parents didn't go to federal court to have it ruled unconstitutional. (Hattip: Instapundit.)