scouts-l Mail Archive for November of 1999: Scouting and Citizenship - at Question?
Roman J. Smith (Roman.J.Smith.13@ND.EDU
Tue Nov 16 1999 - 09:06:42 CST
Donald Izard asks:
>So - finally to my question - what is citizenship?
>As a US citizen, should we NOT "be preapred"
>in every way - to defend our country? Should
>young men (or women) today, not believe that they
>have some obligation to serve our country?
Thank you Don for asking the question. Let me tell a story that I have
only told to a few people. That is the story of why I did not serve in the
service during the Viet Nam war.
Background: I was in college at the time, holding a draft lottery number
of "50". That was considered an "instant winner", one who was guaranteed
to be drafted. But I held a student deferment. So I saw two choices: drop
my deferment and get drafted and then let the government pay part of my
college, or wait until I graduated and then serve.
My dad served in WWII. He served with the Second Division...a crack unit
in both world wars. He invaded Normandy and fought at the Bulge. He was
the second man to be drafted from Lorain County (Ohio) when they started
drafting for the war. He had to stay in Europe until after VJ day, when
the war was really over.
I sat down with my parents and went over my options and what I believed. I
wanted to drop my deferment and get my service over with and have money for
college, knowing that it would entail a year in S.E. Asia. My dad
objected. After what he saw of war, he promised himself that he would do
everything he could to keep his sons out of war. He told me to stay in
school. If the government wanted me, they would find me. If they did come
and get me, then I should serve to the best of my ability with the greatest
of honor. But until then, he would have no part of my joining the military
during war time.
I took his advice and by the time I had graduated from Kent State the draft
was over anyway and I went on with life. (Of course I did get close one
battle in college.)
But I always remember his advice that when you are asked to serve, you do
it the best of your ability with the greatest of honor. And I take that to
heart if be for the country, the state, the city, my church, or scouting.
Of course as he said, they have to ask first.
Roman J. Smith
University of Notre Dame
(219)631-4624 Fax: (219)631-8223
E-Mail: email@example.com / Web: http://www.nd.edu/~invest/
Scoutmaster, Troop 505 / Committee Member, Ship 505
-I used to be an Owl