“You will be asked to defend America’s interests overseas, and thereby to defend the ideals that encompass and transcend those interests. You will protect the international order that American politics, with all its inefficiencies and human frailties, has done so much to create.Active Duty, Reserves, National Guard, and the various Auxiliaries, it is indeed a calling.
“Many of you will risk everything for your country. You will make sacrifices for your fellow Americans, who won’t be asked to make sacrifices for you. That’s your calling. Thank you for accepting it. I promise, there will be compensations for the hard times you endure. You will have lives of adventure. You will have the best company. And you will know a satisfaction far more sublime than pleasure.
“I know what you will risk and what you will receive in return. I know America is lucky to have you, and that you will think yourselves lucky to serve America. Even in the worst of times – and they come for most of us – you’ll know that to serve this country is to serve its ideals – the ideals that consider every child on earth as made in the image of God and endowed with dignity and the rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. It is a noble cause. It is your cause, and it’s worth living and dying for.
It's also one of the reasons I tend to look on with pity at those people who, when they learn that I served and that my sons serve now, react with "Aren't you scared of what might happen to them?"
My response,"No, I worry what would happen to our country and the world if young men and women like them didn't step up and 'risk every thing' for the ideals our country" ends a lot of conversatiions.
Recommended reading Lessons from the Hanoi Hilton: Six Characteristics of High-Performance Teams discussed on Midrats 3 years ago: