A career in the military offers opportunities for success and adventure. It also involves responsibilities and commitments beyond the scope of a private-sector job. The United States Military, consisting of 12 branches, is part of the Department of Defense, the largest employer in the world. With over 4,100 career specialties being offered, the military helps members build leadership skills and prepares them for civilian jobs in the future should they decide to seek work in the private sector. Duty is not to be taken lightly; thus, parents and grandparents can play a role in helping their child or grandchild evaluate their options, navigate the process, and prepare for military life. A person must be 17 years old to enlist with parental consent and 18 without.
When a person joins the military, it’s important for the family to offer support. The family must also understand that the military makes every effort to ensure that members are safe. Travel is a normal part of military life and begins with basic training. Boot camp introduces recruits to the physical, mental, and emotional elements of military service—the purpose is to turn civilians into soldiers, sailors, airmen, or marines. Service members gain the basic tools necessary to perform roles that will be assigned to them during their tour. Future training paths may vary depending upon the chosen service and career path. Each of the Services have their own specialized training programs. Separation can be especially difficult on spouses of those enlisted, and they often can use the support of family and friends as needed.
Parents ultimately raise their children to be independent and go out into the world to share their talents. However, it is often a deeply emotional experience for parents and grandparents when a child leaves for military service. Saying goodbye at the airport or bus depot can be particularly difficult, especially when you do not know where your loved one may be deployed and not knowing when you will see them again. Deployment can significantly affect families, even in the absence of war. Missing them, worrying over long periods of their absence, lacking communication for lengths of time, and praying for their health and safety are some of the things that military families must learn to live with. However, if it were not for the sacrifices made by our brave military men and women who are called to serve and for their supportive spouses, parents, and other family members, our freedom and security would not be guaranteed.
A thanks to all who serve
Our thanks to you for all you do
Defending our flag, the red, white, and blue
Americans, we know what freedom means
The joy, the peace, and the right to dream
Freedom we love, but it is not free
The sacrifice is great, and you give willingly
Our thoughts and prayers are with you today
As you fight for freedom so far away
May God keep you safe in all that you do
And bring you back home to those who love you
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