Wednesday, November 4, 2009
Young Indians should join the Armed Forces
November 11 is Remembrance Day, the day we take at least 2 minutes at 11 o'clock. It was the 11th month, the 11th Day, and the 11th hour the Armistice Treaty was signed. Many times I have wanted to go to the local ceremony and watched the laying of the Wreath. Sadly I have not done this. I lazy around on the couch and watch on the television. That is so disgustingly wrong. Able bodies should be able to at least get up, make the effort and take the time to remember the people who were Warriors. Maybe I will make the effort this year.
I believe (not just think) the Armed Forces saves lives. Saves lives not just in foreign countries but here at home. Sure when we see the Armed Forces engaged in armed conflict it is awful and tragic. The casualties of war really are hard to take. We never expect young men and women to actually be active in battle when they serve in the Forces. Today people think when their kids consider joining the Forces they may be in actual combat. Television commercials in the U.S. want parents to listen to their children when they consider the Armed Forces. In Canada the commercials send a message of fighting, but fighting to save lives. Saving lives by becoming a rescue operation. The Armed Forces is still a viable place to begin a career or receive a chance to start a career.
Young Indian boys and girls are dying right now now. They are either killing themselves directly or they are taking an indirect route to death. It is a sad and pitiful picture. In the age group between Indian and non-Indian; Indians are 5 to 6 times more likely to kill themselves. In cases where kids do not commit suicide there is the likely-hood they will be involved in the justice system or the child welfare system. They will not finish high school. Their chance of success in mainstream society and/or life in the Reserve is not very good. Many of the youth will be seduced into a gang lifestyle or into street life (working the street as male/female prostitutes, selling drugs or become drug addicted). In the end their life ended before they got a chance to experience the good road.
The good road is what everyone would like for their kids. I believe that even the harden criminal wants his son or daughter to live a life free of problems, that is the good road. However, the environment we are surrounded in can be hard to overcome. We can be swallowed up by where and how we grow up. Being in a broken home, a home where there is no caring parent, a home where parenting is lacking, a home where food is replaced by liquor and a home where you don't know where you stand. A home where the lack of everything includes lack of discipline. Discipline that shows that someone cares. Not the type of discipline you get for being you.
The Armed Forces is a way out of the life of slow death. It can give hope to a group of youth that are deemed to fail. Doomed to face a hard short, in many cases violent life. A life of despair, not the good life. The Armed Forces can provide a new lifestyle, not a street lifestyle. It can give them pride. Pride in who they are and what they can be. A view of something other than decay, rot and slow death. A view other than the falsehoods of gang life.
I really believe that my son would have been saved by the Armed Forces. We went to Grand Forks, North Dakota with two of my nephews to enlist. My son and my two nephews went to the U.S. Army to ask about joining. My son and nephews could join the U.S. Army as they fall under the Jay Treaty, being Indian. Unfortunately for my son he was not free of court involvement, did not have his grade 12, so he was not eligible to join right then. He did try to sign up with Canadian Army and he was rejected there as well for court involvement. He was scared going to join but was happy when he did, and was crushed when he was rejected. He was told he could try again in 2007. Sadly he didn't live that long.
The Armed Forces is a future and it can be a place that Indian youth should be forced to go. I know that is harsh, but it will save their lives. There is so much benefit for the youth to join the Armed Forces.