Last week was the 75th anniversary of the D-Day invasion. One of the conversations I heard around the commemoration of that event went something like this. During World War II, a majority of young men and women from communities across the country served in the armed forces. Rich. Poor. East. West. North. South. Urban. Rural. Because of their service and sacrifice, they became known as the greatest generation. But it was the follow up comment which caught my attention. Today, in what feels to me a time of hyper, but shallow patriotism and when it has become so easy and so convenient to wrap oneself in the flag, only 7% of the population serve in the armed forces. Only 7%!
This raises a whole series of questions for me, but today this one stands out.
What is the service we do…the sacrifice we make…which binds us to our country and builds common bonds with our fellow citizens. I am not advocating for a larger military or hoping for something like another world war, but I would advocate for some type of universal service to our country. Civilian Conservation Corps 2019. Americorps. Peace Corps. Service through our faith communities. Teach for America. Something which brings us together and strengthens our country.
On my social media feed today I saw a short video highlighting the fact that before they can graduate, high school seniors in the Philippines have to plant 10 trees to help counteract the effects of climate change and the degradation caused by severe deforestation. What would be something similar for our country? Something which would change the trajectory not only of our country, but also our citizenry? I wonder…