Why do people join the army....? and why should we honour them?

(282 Posts)
LittleRedSparke Fri 16-Oct-15 19:19:28

Ok - i have my tin hat at the ready, and am ready to be flamed.....

This is genuine (i post a bit so you can see this is not my first and i havent nc'd)

First off - I appreciate those who fight for the rights of my country.... but I am not sure why we should raise them to a 'god-like' status, like you see on facebook etc

Yes, they're doing a good job - but no one forces them to do it, as far as I know (prepared to be told i am wrong of course) they join up of their own free will? I read 'how wonderful they are, and how they only do it because of some saint like calling they have'

I dont mean to offend anyone - but I have a friend who is ex-forces, and on occasion he mentions stuff about forces being let down by the government - even though he wasnt there for long, only joined up as he didnt have anywhere to live and no prospects, he's come out - and now has no prospects and has some kind of (non army related) injury, and I just got to thinking.....

SheSparkles Fri 16-Oct-15 19:21:14

Because if these people didn't choose to do it people would be forced?

BrianCoxReborn Fri 16-Oct-15 19:22:42

I've often pondered this too, OP.

I'm not dissing the armed forces in any way, but why are we expected to hold them in such reverence? They weren't forced to join up, they did so willingly - often escaping a life with very little prospects in civvy street.

I respect them the same way I respect teachers, nurses, doctors, firemen/women, police officers etc.

steff13 Fri 16-Oct-15 19:22:54

It's no different than any other life of service. Do you feel the same about police officers or firefighters? It's more impressive if they choose that life, isn't it? Less so if they're forced into it against their will.

Pootles2010 Fri 16-Oct-15 19:23:36

Well, they join because it's a good career I guess. The government must support them though - if you send someone into a bloody dangerous situation, knowing that they may well be maimed or killed, you bloody well look after them.

JeffsanArsehole Fri 16-Oct-15 19:23:42

I don't know what you mean by 'God like', I've never seen this

It's not like an ordinary job, people actually die/get maimed/get captured, tortured and raped.

My own job is fuck all like that, don't know about yours hmm

They fight because they're told to by politicians so we owe it to them to elect the right people who won't take us into illegal wars.

HeySoulSister Fri 16-Oct-15 19:24:57

God like? Can you explain what you mean by that?

JeffsanArsehole Fri 16-Oct-15 19:26:09

And often we don't 'look after' veterans. They can get kicked out of ministry housing when they're unwell, their families can fail to get death benefits for years.

Actually, we're not that great at looking after our veterans sad and charity picks up a lot of the slack

meditrina Fri 16-Oct-15 19:27:30

FB isn't RL, and people I know in the Forces are deeply embarrassed by the wilder fringes of the 'support' for them.

When the press interview those who really have done remarkable things, they are all self-effacing and say things like 'I was only doing my job', 'anyone would have done the same' or 'this ought to be about the team, not me'.

So the question about why the adulation really needs to be asked of the adulatory. Because it seems to have sod all to do with the actual Forces personnel.

Leavingsosoon Fri 16-Oct-15 19:28:34

The reverence mentioned in the op is in the wording of some charities - 'help for heroes' and the like.

Knockmesideways Fri 16-Oct-15 19:29:29

I don't think it's so much holding them in reverence as not being disrespectful.

There was a case recently where an airforce guy was asked, twice, to move around the waiting room. His crime? He was in uniform and he 'might upset other people'. He'd been injured in a training exercise so was in his uniform, just like someone from Tesco's or the local football team would have been if they had been injured whilst wearing theirs.

As for why we should appreciate them (if that's a more acceptable word than hold them in esteem). As SheSparkles said - if they don't do it then we, our DH/Ps and DC would get called up if the need arose. I don't think we've ever had conscription for the police, nurses etc but we've had it a number of times for the armed forces.

Electrolux2 Fri 16-Oct-15 19:30:21

I'm ex forces.
My reasons for joining were not patriotic. I did it to escape the horrendous abuse I was experiencing at home.
I did a 'male' job and was the first female in my role in the army.
It did me the world of good.
But also gave me PTSD.
I have a huge amount of respect for our service men and women. And none for the British government who treat them like crap when they leave.
The homeless statistics for ex service personnel is shocking and the Govt. should be ashamed.
My ex watched his best friend be blown up in Iraq and has never recovered.

I shall now shut up before I really start ranting!

meditrina Fri 16-Oct-15 19:30:44

Slightly tangentially, I saw my first poppy wearer yesterday.

As it's still a couple of weeks until the RBS launch, I was a bit hmm about that. Unless I just happened to eyeball someone who wears one year round.

Babycham1979 Fri 16-Oct-15 19:30:52

Soldiers are paid to be cannon-fodder; always were, always will be. To pretend otherwise is disingenuous in the extreme.

While we're not as bad as the US, many recruits join-up because it's the least bad option for a poor, poorly-educated and/or BME man, not because it's some kind of vocation.

Knockmesideways Fri 16-Oct-15 19:31:19

oops, forgot to say the airforce bloke was in a hospital waiting room. Makes more sense when you know that eh?

SurlyCue Fri 16-Oct-15 19:32:45

Personally I honour their bravery. They literally sign up to die if necessary. I think of them as heroes in the same way I think of nurses and doctors, emergency services etc as heroes. I am grateful that they do choose to do for me what I would never do for myself.

howtorebuild Fri 16-Oct-15 19:33:07

I feel there were attempts to bully others by career forces folk into treating them as hero's. I will carry on thinking as I do, they can't bully me.

cardibach Fri 16-Oct-15 19:34:16

I remember that case, Knock - and it wasn't so as not to upset people, it was to protect him because someone else in uniform had been attacked there. Attacking someone for the way they are dressed is obviously unacceptable, but presenting this as a case where forces personal are treated as an embarrassment is just wrong.

AuntieStella Fri 16-Oct-15 19:34:48

"While we're not as bad as the US, many recruits join-up because it's the least bad option for a poor, poorly-educated and/or BME man, not because it's some kind of vocation."

There is more to the Forces than the Army, let alone the infantry. But yes - remember Humphrey Appleby and his comment that the Army gives them a comprehensive education, that makes up for their comprehensive education.

The military is the biggest provider of adult education/training.

merrymouse Fri 16-Oct-15 19:37:26

Like it or not, we need the armed forces.

the armed forces work on the basis that if somebody tells you to walk into a situation where your arms and legs may be blown off, you do it or face disciplinary proceedings.

None of that is pleasant or easy.

I don't see any of the Facebook stuff so don't know what it's like. However I'm quite happy to buy a poppy and observe a minute's silence.

WheresPoIIy Fri 16-Oct-15 19:37:37

I think anyone who puts their life on the line to help others is a hero; so armed forces/police/fire service etc.

I speak from experience when I say military life is extremely tough on both the service person and their family, so yes I do think that the public should be grateful to service personnel for doing their jobs as if we weren't doing it, they'd probably have to introduce some form of national service where people were conscripted to do a stint.

LittleRedSparke Fri 16-Oct-15 19:39:23

Thanks for taking this in the spirit i meant it -

Good point about the "media" side.

We don't look after our nurses etc - i get that the people in the forces are kind of institutionalised (so I have heard because they are deeply trained to respond to orders etc) and can find it difficult to reintegrate back in to society and YES we should help more

But I'm more asking about do you think it is a huge sacrifice to join the forces or 'a job' - it can be a good career, and some people like that kind of work

If you get to Captain you can earn £38,847 (based on 2014 wages)
www.army.mod.uk/documents/general/Rates_of_Pay_Officer_2014.pdf

You can learn a trade
Qualifications for life
About 7,300 soldiers a year do an apprenticeship, earning qualifications (NVQs) while they work. We help soldiers study for GCSEs, degrees and post-graduate awards in a range of subjects, like medicine, languages or law. All of these are subsidised by the Army.
A Learning & Development officer can help you to choose a course, which doesn’t have to relate directly to your job. And we encourage you to keep learning throughout your career.

BetaTest Fri 16-Oct-15 19:39:33

People often talk about the 'military contract'.

It is not an actual contract but a debt of honour that the country owes to injured service men and women or to the families of those that are killed that the will be cared for.

This country often fails to honour the military contract because once someone is injured or killed there is no way of forcing Govt to honour its side of the bargain.

Yes it is a job and I know that a lot of people join the armed forces as they have no prospects in civilian life but frankly it is a job I would not do and I have told my sons in no uncertain terms they must not join the cadets at school. I do not want them in the armed forces because I do not for one minute believe the Govt will care for them or their dependants.

LittleRedSparke Fri 16-Oct-15 19:41:16

I always buy a poppy, and observe the silence

redannie118 Fri 16-Oct-15 19:41:44

I totally agree op. Im a pacifist and the amount of hero worship that goes on at this time of year truly upsets me. Take for example the wearing of poppies to honour the glorious dead. There is nothing glorious about war. The only people who benefit from it are the fat cat government and arms traders who make a fortune murdering millions of innocent civilians. We shake our heads in horror and talk about the tragedy of whole generations of young men wiped out in ww1 and 2 yet instead of acknowledging what a horrific crime against humanity it is we glorify it by saying"they did a truly wonderful thing they gave their lives for their country"no they didnt,they were slaughtered needlessly in a war that could easily have been stopped before it got going. The best way to honour this would be to admit that it was wrong and it wont happen again,but instead poppy day is a recruitment dream come true for the armed forces to line up a whole fresh load of young men to go to some distant corner of the world to have their legs blown off. The most sickening thing about it all is that poppies only represent military dead, which is approx 23 percent of all fatalities during warfare,so when are the other 77 percent remembered?the civilians who are the truly innocent in all this?this year as every year I will be wearing my white poppy a symbol of peace and remembrance for all the victims of war.please take a look at the peace pledge union or the white poppy for peace pages on the net, and maybe get a slightly broader picture than the one that is forced on us from the media every year

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now