An educator and veteran talks national service

Neighbor Grover sez he wonders what disease cured ham actually had. I have long wondered if the patriotic malaise that this country—or at least portions of its younger generations—seem to evidence would exist if we still had mandatory military service.

To this desk this week came the following from Mark Brady, former Rockdale ISD history/civics teacher and Gifted & Talented director, now with the Region VI Education Service Center.

It should be noted here that Mark is a combat veteran of the Vietnam War, having been in some of its hottest and heaviest duty.

What he sent to this desk is food for thought. It’s a copy of a letter to the editor of Time magazine. It’s Mark’s thoughts on an article, “In Search of a Common Cause,” which ran in the June 18 edition of Time. The article discussed a call for national service and bringing back the draft.

Mark’s letter:

I am an educator in Texas. I taught high school social studies for 29 years. I currently present teacher workshops.

I am 100 percent in favor of national service. The article by Joe Klein hits on several positive results from the idea of national service.

As a teacher and now consultant in rural Texas, I see another equally positive result this service would have on our youth. These 18 year olds graduate from high school and have nowhere to go.

There are now generations of young adults who graduate and stay in these small towns literally doing nothing. They have no older brothers or sisters who have gone to college or trade school or have served in the military. Therefore they all see that once they graduate the road ends. Poverty perpetuates itself. Life is stagnant generation after generation.

Think of the benefit not only to these young people but to their communities and our nation if they are given the opportunity to travel, see the country/world, become part of a noble and worthwhile experience. Then, after their service, to have an opportunity and financial aid to attend post high school training or college.

This would also do wonders to our economic system. These young adults would be working and learning skills that would allow them to become successful citizens and taxpayers. The financial return to the country would be seen for decades to come.

One only needs to remember the tremendous successes of the everyday members of “The Greatest Generation,” who were able to attend college and vocational programs on the GI Bill, to see how such a program as national service could make America as great as ever! Plus, the idea of citizenship would be reborn in our youth!!

Mark Brady

Rockdale, Texas mark_ brady_

Thanks for sharing, Mark.

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