Watch Your Defense: Hooray for the Military!

One of the things that feels typically American when coming to the States as a Dutchie, is that all of culture seems to be coated with militarism. A military ID can get you through airport security faster, gives you a discount here and there and soldiers in uniforms are sometimes greeted by strangers and thanked for the work they are doing. I even saw a painting at a fair, that portrait a G.I. with the wings of an angel attached to it. On top of that, I got an extra dose of it when visiting the Kansas City Baseball game (see: Baseball), but still, it is everywhere. The day I went to the game it was Armed Forces Day. Every minute between innings was filled with an extraordinary respect for the military in every form. Sometimes a livestream was shown of soldiers from Kansas City based in Afghanistan also watching the game. After every single notion of those soldiers, people would clap, cheer and even give them a standing ovation, because everybody wants to show their gratitude to their boys.

I didn’t really know how to react. Not because I have a strong opinion against the military or the heroism that Americans seem to attribute to them, it was just too new for me. I just did not get it. First of all: to fly all over the world to defend your country against some shepherds in the desert seems a little redundant. Of course, I admire the goodwill to change the world and make it a better place as a whole, but that is a quite another thing than defending a country that has been attacked just once in its entire history. When people were praising the defending qualities of the American military, I just wondered why they were spending all the money outside the country. Especially since they could really use it themselves; the second thing I couldn’t imagine cheering for. To summarize my view: the country with the least necessity for a strong, defensive military, seems to be proudest of its soldiers. I’m not saying it’s a good or a bad thing (although soldiers sent abroad need support), I can’t see why. Explanations are welcome.


3 thoughts on “Watch Your Defense: Hooray for the Military!

  1. De VS is een complex land. De Amerikaanse cultuur (vooral in het zuiden en midden) kenmerkt zich vooral door dogma’s. Het idee dat de Amerikaanse levenswijze de beste ter wereld is zit er diep in. Er is weinig ruimte voor dialoog of zelfreflectie. Dit speelt bij andere zaken ook heel erg. Vandaar ook dat veel mensen van buiten de VS het idee hebben dat Amerikanen erg oppervlakkig zijn. Dat is echter niet voorbehouden aan Amerikanen: dat speelt ook bij andere culturen.

  2. Overigens zijn de voordelen voor militairen vaak geen leuke bijkomstigheid voor militairen maar bittere noodzaak. De salarissen van militairen in de VS zijn zeer laag en ze hebben na het einde van hun diensttijd vaak geen uitzicht op een baan. En zeker niet tijdens de grote recessie van nu.

  3. Pingback: Standing Ovations: Not Just For Anyone | visitingmissouri

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