Aug 032004
Authors: Evan Truesdale

On Monday I changed my life in a dramatic and permanent way. I

enlisted in the U.S. Army. While I have not yet specified my MOS,

(that’s military slang for job description) I have indicated my

intent to enter into combat arms.

I am joining the service in tumultuous times. With a two-front

war in Iraq and Afghanistan and the U.N. Security Council preparing

to enact sanctions with Sudan, the world is, quite frankly, not a

safe place anymore.

As we woke up on Monday, we were all met with the headlines on

the covers of newspapers across America indicating the terror level

has been changed to orange, which indicated a high risk for

terrorist attacks.

I hold my own political beliefs as liberal; yes, I dare to

describe myself with the dirty, dirty “L” word.

I believe in drastically higher taxes, or better yet a flat tax,

set at about 25 to 30 percent. There is a message you will

definitely, not be hearing from any of the presidential


I rabidly support the rights of all citizens of the United

States to marry, regardless of their sexuality. America has a lot

of problems right now, and too many loving couples are not one of

these problems.

I also believe that we did not get into this conflict in Iraq on

the best of intelligence or decision-making abilities, a feeling

that has grown exponentially ever since I watched Michael Moore’s

recent film, “Fahrenheit 9/11.”

Since the conflict in Iraq began there have been 921 deaths in

the American forces – 684 from hostile activity, 237 from mishap as

the Collegian went to press.

I know that I may not return from Iraq alive.

There is the cold, hard truth: War is violent.

I’m not seeking glory or medals (well, maybe just a few ribbons

to wear on parade), and I’ve already seen a lot of the world. I’m

certainly not in it for the paycheck – being a professional soldier

is one of the few jobs that pay even less than what a professional

journalist makes.

I offer to you an explanation. I’m not trying to “win hearts and

minds.” I am making this change in my life, a year from graduation,

because of my love for my fellow Americans.

We are in a war that many call illegal, including my own parents

who I can assure you are not pleased with my decision.

But I am going anyway. I am going because out there, fellows

Americans have chosen to put themselves in harm’s way. I am going

out there to help my countrymen and women in their fight. I have

knowingly made the decision that in risking my own life I might

save theirs.

Over the next few weeks I will be left with some very hard

realities: I may be killed, and I, too, may kill. As a journalist I

have always tried to be fair and balanced in all my stories that I

have written and most importantly to remain detached, in a

professional sense. But now it is my time to take my turn out on

the line.

I may be called upon to do what in our society is deemed one of

the most horrible crimes – the conscious taking of another human

life. I don’t find this idea appealing in the least, but I accept

it as a moral hazard of duty.

Should I survive my tour overseas, I may come home with the

knowledge that I made a wife into a widow and children into


As I ready myself for my chosen future, I will think back to

days spent idly chatting with friends. I will smirk with amusement

when I remember being patronized by Mormons on the Lory Student

Center Plaza. I expect I will even miss those anxious last Friday

class periods where the weekend is so close you can taste it. I

will miss the simplicity and security of living in Fort Fun.

I will return to college to get my degree, but for the next few

years I’ll be serving my country at the very tip of the spear.

If you still don’t understand my motivations, as I expect many

will not, I offer a final argument – I may die, but I choose to die

on my own terms as a soldier in uniform; too many people die in

freak accidents or from stupid mistakes. These people’s friends and

family will raise their arms to the sky and ask, “Why, oh why, did

this have to happen to them?”

There will be none of that at my funeral, for I choose to fight

and I knowingly choose to put my life on the line. If I do die,

don’t ask why; merely quietly nod your head and try to understand

that if I do die, I have died with purpose and pride.

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

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