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For those considering Military Medicine: USUHS, HPSP, and FAP

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by phil413ru, Nov 27, 2002.

  1. phil413ru

    phil413ru Senior Member
    7+ Year Member

    Sep 19, 2002
    Likes Received:
    Medical Student
    Below is a story sent to me. It was found in the Washington Post. It is a great eye opener. Both military and medicine are service careers--even if not interested, still good reading.

    My Heart on the Line, By Frank Schaeffer, Tuesday, November 26, 2002; Page

    Before my son became a Marine, I never thought much about who was defending
    me. Now when I read of the war on terrorism or the coming conflict in Iraq,
    it cuts to my heart. When I see a picture of a member of our military who
    has been killed, I read his or her name very carefully. Sometimes I cry.

    In 1999, when the barrel-chested Marine recruiter showed up in dress blues
    and bedazzled my son John, I did not stand in the way. John was
    headstrong, and he seemed to understand these stern, clean men with straight
    backs and flawless uniforms. I did not. I live on the Volvo-driving, higher
    education-worshiping North Shore of Boston. I write novels for a living. I
    have never served in the military.

    It had been hard enough sending my two older children off to Georgetown and
    New York University. John's enlisting was unexpected, so deeply
    unsettling. I did not relish the prospect of answering the question "So
    where is John going to college?" from the parents who were itching to tell
    me all about how their son or daughter was going to Harvard. At the private
    high school John attended, no other students were going into the military.

    "But aren't the Marines terribly Southern?" asked one perplexed mother while
    standing next to me at the brunch following graduation. "What a
    waste, he was such a good student," said another parent. One parent (a
    professor at a nearby
    and rather famous university) spoke up at a school meeting and suggested
    that the school should "carefully evaluate what went wrong."

    When John graduated from three months of boot camp on Parris Island, 3,000
    parents and friends were on the parade deck stands. We parents and
    our Marines not only were of many races but also were representative of many
    economic classes. Many were poor. Some arrived crammed in the backs of
    pickups, others by bus. John told me that a lot of parents could not afford
    the trip.

    We in the audience were white and Native American. We were Hispanic, Arab
    and African American and Asian. We were former Marines wearing the scars of
    battle, or at least baseball caps emblazoned with battles' names. We were
    Southern whites from Nashville and skinheads from New Jersey, black kids
    from Cleveland wearing ghetto rags and white ex-cons with ham-hock forearms
    defaced by jailhouse tattoos. We would not have been mistaken for the
    educated and well-heeled parents gathered on the lawns of John's private
    school a half-year before.

    After graduation one new Marine told John, "Before I was a Marine, if I had
    ever seen you on my block I would've probably killed you just because you
    were standing there." This was a serious statement from one of John's good
    friends, an African American ex-gang member from Detroit who, as John said,
    "would die for me now, just like I'd die for him."

    My son has connected me to my country in a way that I was too selfish and
    insular to experience before. I feel closer to the waitress at our
    local diner than to some of my oldest friends. She has two sons in the
    Corps. They are facing the same dangers as my boy. When the guy who fixes
    my car asks me how John is doing, I know he means it. His younger brother is
    in the Navy.

    Why were I and the other parents at my son's private school so surprised by
    his choice? During World War II, the sons and daughters of the most
    powerful and educated families did their bit. If the immorality of the
    Vietnam War was the
    only reason those lucky enough to go to college dodged the draft, why did we
    not encourage our children to volunteer for military service once that
    war was done?

    Have we wealthy and educated Americans all become pacifists? Is the world a
    safe place? Or have we just gotten used to having somebody else defend us?
    What is the future of our democracy when the sons and daughters of the
    janitors at our elite universities are far more likely to be put in harm's
    way than are any of the students whose dorms their parents clean?

    I feel shame because it took my son's joining the Marine Corps to make me
    take notice of who is defending me. I feel hope because perhaps my son is
    part of a future "greatest generation." As the storm clouds of war gather,
    at least I know that I can look the men and women in uniform in the eye. My
    son is one of them. He is the best I have to offer. He is my heart.

    Frank Schaeffer is a writer. His latest book, co-written with his son,
    Marine Cpl. John Schaeffer, is "Keeping Faith: A Father-Son Story About Love
    and the United States Marine Corps." ? 2002 The Washington Post Company
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  2. Dr Sum Day

    Dr Sum Day SDN Lifetime Donor
    Lifetime Donor Verified Account 15+ Year Member

    Oct 7, 2002
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    I liked that story.
  3. Gleevec

    Gleevec Peter, those are Cheerios
    7+ Year Member

    Nov 24, 2002
    Likes Received:
    Good story. The military is a good option for a lot of people. It is just my personal preference to want to enter academia though, just like it is others' to want to enter the armed forces.
  4. kaos

    kaos Web Crawler
    10+ Year Member

    Jun 13, 2002
    Likes Received:
    Resident [Any Field]
    It is a good story. Thanks for sharing!
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