Navy Vet Ken Harbaugh for the New York Observer
Your country is worth fighting for.
America’s ability to do good depends on people like you. You will be a leader some day—do not be the kind who spends a lifetime allowing others to do their fighting. I taught too many college kids who asked, “Why should I risk my body, when the brain it holds up is worth so much?” Whenever our country has strayed, whenever we have wielded our might selfishly or clumsily, it is because of such arrogance. The way to prevent the kind of military misadventures we have seen of late is not to turn your back. It is to understand, to gain wisdom from experience, and to take your place and lead. Our best and brightest must be willing to fight for our country. Ask yourself, “If not me, then who?”
There are so many good parts in this piece, it’s tough to pick my favorite. But the above paragraph accurately captures the core feeling on why I think myself and so many of my friends joined the military.
My other favorite part
You will learn about America, both our strengths and our weaknesses.
Serving your country, you will learn hard things about us. About how we sometimes misuse our power, or are sometimes too late to defend the weak. But you will also see the best of us.
Articles like these are needed. They help frame patriotism in its proper context. It’s not about waving the flag and saying we are better. It’s realizing that our country is, despite its many flaws, a positive force in the world. And worth defending.