The Challenges of a Military Family
For centuries, America has prided itself on being the most powerful force for change in the world. During most of that time, we have used that power wisely, helping to create a better tomorrow. But what happens when that capacity for change is misused?
Members of my family have served in every major conflict from the cold plains of Europe in WWII to the deserts of Afghanistan after 9/11. Every generation has lived as a military family, moved as a military family, and sacrificed as a military family. Anyone who lives with a service member knows exactly what I’m talking about. So today, when I was looking through the Pentagon’s most recent announcements, I was shocked and appalled to see its latest program. Beginning in the near future, the government will start offering a program to young soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines to cryogenically freeze their eggs and sperm so that they can delay starting a family. To say this is ridiculous would be an understatement.
According to the Pentagon, nearly 72 percent of all enlisted service members are under the age of 30, which is the prime age for having children. The government fears that more and more young Americans will leave the military to start having families, which could become a serious issue since less than one percent of the US population serves. This dilemma is certainly not unfounded, but the attempt to resolve it is outrageous. The family is the cornerstone of society. If you remove the family from the equation, the rest of society crumbles. A soldier with a family has something to fight for—a reason to endure the hardship and persevere. While it’s always hard watching a loved one go fight overseas, none of the many military families I know would wish that the husband and wife in that family had frozen their genetic material and delayed starting and becoming a family. Yet, government doesn’t see it that way because its concern isn’t for the well-being of the citizens, but for maintaining its power.
My problem with this issue is twofold. First, anyone with even the slightest understanding of ethics knows that this is immoral. The family is a sacred institution created by God, and no one has the right to damage it. For millennia, humanity has been waging wars and leaving behind their families while they fight. And for millennia, those families have endured and become better people for persevering through those hardships. Yet, today, the institution sworn to look out for our best interests just spat in the face of every military family in the world.
Second, this program undermines the value of every human being. Yet again, the government has managed to reduce the wonder of procreating human beings and the sanctity of marriage and the family to a scientific level. By encouraging young service members to delay having families, the government is essentially telling them that having children is less important than dedicating their lives to governmental service. Nothing could be further from the truth. In ancient Greece, the most elite soldiers in the world—the Spartans—were encouraged by their king to have as many children as possible. In fact, to be a member of the king’s elite bodyguard, you HAD to have a child. The belief was that, by having children, you provided for the next generation of Spartans, so that their culture and way of life would never be lost, even if many of them died in battle. Even back then, thousands of years ago, people recognized the importance of children in carrying on our species, legacies, and beliefs. Yet today, because children are seen as a burden, it is all too easy for the government to convince young Americans to put off starting a family.
How sad is that? Children are not a hindrance or a burden, but a blessing and a gift from God. Starting a family is a HUGE responsibility, and certainly should not be taken lightly. But what the government is suggesting is NEVER the answer.
As any veteran will tell you, they don’t fight for their country first, they fight for their family, then their country. Marriage, the family, and little children are the foundation of our great nation. The moment we all forget that is the moment we fail as a civilization.