The Call For National Service on Veterans Day

I want to commemorate Veterans Day this year by talking about the importance of national service. Our military is one form of national service. It is a model that, for the most part, works. We can base other types of national service on the military.

We Need National Service:

To instill discipline, direction and national service in our youth. The United States has nearly $1.5 T in college debt. Our kids are intelligent, but it takes time for them to figure it out and apply that knowledge. In Europe, I run across many of college-age kids with time, money and opportunity on their hands. With no clear direction other than what seems like having parties and taking siestas, I get the sense they are trying to figure things out. We could treat national service as another option to a bridge, or gap, year. Given our needs to integrate more communities and fortify our natural resources, national service affords us more benefits than senselessly piling up college debt or taking jobs that don’t require degrees. Discipline promotes direction and the lesson of learning through the experience of standing for something bigger than yourself is life changing. Just ask those who are serving, or have served, in the military.  It teaches valuable lessons at a formidable age. The kind we are currently lacking that stay with you such as responsibility, leadership and community service.

Because collaboration and cooperation lead us to greater unity and a larger sense of identity (i.e., purpose and meaning). On an individual level, it increasingly seems as though we are missing an identity beyond our self-serving interests. It is why our youth talks so much about purpose and why existentialism has become a thing (a.k.a., a search for meaning in an irrational universe.) It is also why we continue to allow abuses like misogyny to persist. It’s no wonder women have decided to control their own situation while allowing fertility rates to reach an all-time low in America. We can’t lose hope in ourselves and our future.

The United States is no longer united. We have segments, divisions, sub populations, communities and multiple classes within our society. For every culture, there is a counter culture. Everyone seems to have a platform and all of us seem to need something. The question is, “What can we sacrifice and are we willing to give back?”

Diversity is what makes America who we are…a country of immigrants, the land of opportunity, home of the free. As much as we value diversity, we can no longer be held captive, or responsible, to thousands of special interest groups.

We need to reunify. We need to find common ground. We need to find more things that we can agree on, and identify with, and less we disagree about. National Service gives us that sense of purpose and community. It brings us back to a place we belong. Where can realize more balance and a greater sense of unity.

There’s a reason why the tragedy of 9-11 rallied our nation to call out, “United We Stand, Divided We Fall.” The phrase, first coined by Patrick Henry in 1799, was used to preserve us as a “nation of citizens”.  In some respects it has come to personify our constitution and many of our beliefs. National service reconnects us with each other and allows us to identify with our country. It helps all of us understand who we are and leads us to the greater realization of whom hope to become.

May it be so on Veterans Day 2019.

In memory of my Dad, Eugene Phillip Eisenbarth, Sr. who served in the U.S. Air Force; and my Father-In-Law, Leo Vittetoe, who’s living and served in the U.S. Army, on Veterans’ Day 2019.

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