According to a recent survey somewhere between 42 and 48 of the British public support the country's participation in the war -- and the troops who are fighting it.
I completely missed the Vietnam Era in America by a solid 10 years. And even then I was busy doing things like taking long naps and eating baby food. So I, just like the vast majority of today's servicemembers and military families have very little idea what many of our brave Vietnam War veterans experienced when they came home. Shame. Name calling. Disgust.
Today support for the war does not seem to be linked to support for our troops. While support in America for the war is around an all time low -- 69 percent of those recently polled said they do not support the war in Afghanistan -- it does not seem to translate to a lack of support for our troops. Even if you don't like the wars, you probably take pride in supporting the serivcemembers and their families.
The Vietnam era is behind us, thank God.
But according to the reports I've read on the UK, like this one, that doesn't necessarily seem to be the case across the pond. It may not have degraded into shaming yet, but British troops and their families do not seem to enjoy the public support we do in the form of military discounts from businesses, regularly being thanked for our service in public, etc.
No, we don't necessarily want or think we deserve those things. But you gotta admit, they DO boost morale. So here's my question:
If you faced somewhere between no recognition and downright public shame, would you willingly serve in our military?
Let's be clear: I am NOT saying we serve today for the thanks we get. Service is called "service" for a reason. But a grateful public DOES help make us feel good about what we're doing. And it helps guard our families from haters.
I've been thinking about this question a lot since deciding to write this post several weeks ago. I have a hard time imagining what I would do under that kind of peer pressure. I hope that I would say "yes" to service no matter what others think. But would I really? Would I really proudly say that we are a military family if I knew it would result in my son being bullied at school? Or my husband was spit at on the street?
So imagine for a second with me that despite an all volunteer force the same feelings that followed troops after Vietnam were present today. If you felt you had to hide the fact that you or your spouse was a servicemember, would you willing stay in the military? Take our poll below and let us know -- then check out the results on the next page.