Recruiting Quote of the Day

“The Marine Corps will make you puke, make you cry, and when that’s over, you’ll be sent to the most miserable, dangerous, godforsaken place on the planet. So let me ask you: Why should I let you join my corps?”

Published: October 31, 2008

My son Zachary was a gangly high-school junior when he casually informed me, in the fall of 2003, that he’d been speaking with military recruiters. “An Army guy, a Navy guy and a marine are coming over,” Zach said. “A parent has to be present because I’m not 18 yet.”

“I’ll be present,” I said. “Don’t worry.”

I wore my best vegan-dyed PEACE T-shirt. I was wary but not too worried. Zach was barely 17, graduation seemed far off still and the notion that he would volunteer was laughable. He didn’t like killing anything, even insects. The sight of blood made him gag. His favorite hobby was napping.

Army Guy turned up with a salesman’s enthusiasm. “How are you, ma’am?” he said to me, and answered himself in the next breath. “Great! Let’s just sit you down here. … ” Soon the couch was covered with glossy brochures detailing the great accommodations at military bases in Italy and Germany, the great medical facilities, the great on-base T.G.I. Friday’s. Zach looked over my shoulder as I examined dreamy photos of Hawaiian bird life and Munich’s museums and beer festivals. “Great opportunities if he likes culture. … ”

“What about the war?” I said.

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