The truck next to me at the stoplight had these words pasted across the back window: “I Have a Son in the Army.” There was no flag decal, no “I’m proud to have” in front of the words, just the fact. I imagined that this son was in Iraq, and that this father was thinking about him as he waited for the light to change.
I could put a similar decal in my window. My son, 20, is in the third year of a four-year commitment to the U.S. Navy. Before he joined up, I didn’t think much about those serving in the armed forces. Now I know a soldier, and I’ve met his friends and heard about their idealistic, impulsive or desperate reasons for joining the military at age 17, 18 or 19.