By Greg Ritchie
Editor’s note: Greg’s Corner is an editorial (opinion) section where Messenger Reporter Greg Ritchie shares odds and ends from the job and unusual or interesting facts from across the world and across time.
MESSENGER OFFICE – A few years ago, some guys were helping me in my constant battle to remodel my beloved 108-year-old home in Crockett. This was during some former military adventure the U.S. government was carrying on, that time in Syria.
During a break, I heard one say to the other, “I heard Putin say if our guys bomb their guys, he will tell his troops to shoot back!” “Yeah, that Putin is crazy,” answered the other.
Imagine, if we shoot at your people and you shoot back? Don’t you know this is the good ole US of A?
Since way before the Declaration of Independence, there were Ritchies fighting and dying for this land, all the way back to the French and Indian War, and in a thousand other skirmishes before then. I dare say the red of our flag is stained darker with the blood of my family and probably yours, too. They slept in the mud, ate what they could, fought without enough tools to fight with and often died – sometimes more of cold and sickness than from enemy steel.
Even when “we, the people” didn’t agree with the war, we still loved and supported those young men and women sent to some far-off battlefield to fight it. We learned our lesson after Vietnam – those kids don’t start a war and can’t end it. But, God bless them, they give their all – for us and for each other.
The military has always had the highest respect from the American people because the military was above politics, above trends – they still gave each new recruit the same bad haircut for the past 100 years. It seems that has changed.
Recruitment is way down, in spite of the obvious benefits. There are decent salaries, you learn a trade, “see the world,” earn respect, benefits for life – and become part of our country’s rich tradition. So why aren’t young people flocking to the military? It’s even worse than that – their parents and grandparents (many veterans themselves) are telling them not to bother.
When I was finishing high school, we were more proud of those going off to the military than the ones who got into college. Even in a patriotic and traditional place like Houston County, few of this year’s graduates chose the armed forces over college – or just going out and finding a job.
With gender seminars and woke generals, it’s really no surprise many red-state, red-blooded Americans are turning their back on serving their country. Transgender officers and never-ending conflicts around the world don’t really attract the high school quarterback or valedictorian.
We still love those in uniform, but I for one can’t understand the mission anymore and the people at the top have made the military a difficult choice for anyone with strong traditional beliefs.
I thought the number one job of any military is to protect their own country. SEE: Southern Border. I don’t know what “making the world safe for democracy” even means. Do you care if there is a duly-elected congress in Yemen? Boy, I don’t, and I don’t want any of our kids to die for it. I know we should pray for Ukraine or we will get kicked off social media, but the day the people with those Ukrainian flags in their profiles can find it on a map or explain anything about the conflict, I will be on board.
If the Chinese invaded Los Angeles, it would be different. Well, fine, they can have L.A. And San Fransisco. Somewhere around Vegas we’ll stop them.
Or if Putin sent paratroopers to take New York! Can you imagine our response…well, we might not mind that. But he better not try and take Galveston!
The dilemma now is how do we continue to support our troops when our own government is using the armed forces to perform social experiments and foster gender-whatever?
The last, unashamedly patriotic system in our country is now trying to “be more inclusive” to meet their recruitment demands. Sorry, I will say it so you don’t have to.
The people who send our kids to war are, more often than not, in their nineties and probably shareholders in a company that builds tanks. The ones who win our wars eat nails for breakfast and don’t require “safe spaces.”
How do you support the “man,” when you don’t support the “mission?” It’s something we need to think about.
I support our troops so much I don’t want them dying in a faraway place for no good reason.
Bless them this July 4th.
Greg Ritchie can be reached at [email protected]