So many students have little idea what they want to do with their lives once they graduate high school. Some of these students aren’t even sure if they will graduate. These are the ones who are ripe for the pickin’ and are sold a bill of goods by the military recruiters. Without a strong education or support system, young men and women are enticed by the possibility of having a career that will supposedly give them patriotic pride, bonuses, financial security, money for college and on-the-job training. It sounds promising, but instead of coming out of the armed forces with a college degree, many of the enlistees return from a war physically injured and psychologically damaged. These military recruiters. who have rights to be on school property, have a bill of goods they need to sell and will do what needs to be done in order to get vulnerable boys and girls to sign on the dotted line. Yes, those holding the pen are not yet men and women and they are being asked to make a decision that could mean death for them. What is tragic is how these young malleable students are taken, broken down and find themselves suddenly in a nightmare fighting in a war that no longer makes sense to them, if it ever did. It’s not anything like the video games they once spent endless hours playing. Eventually, they return home, if they are lucky, but often with post traumatic stress disorder, and then are abandoned by the very country for which they ostensibly fought. Even the health and disability benefits they were promised has not been budgeted, leaving these battered soldiers with nothing but empty promises.
There are many organizations that are trying to combat the military recruitment and their lies, but we need to do more than try to reach these high school students before the recruiters take advantage of them. We need to begin teaching the value of education and the ability to reason long before students even enter high school. We need to offer hope. With college tuition so high many students feel defeated before they are even close to taking their SATs. It’s a vicious cycle and it is our responsibility to do everything we can to encourage education, because without it, just what are we fighting for otherwise?