What is a soldier? A look into the meaning

Category:  Opinions
Wednesday, April 3rd, 2019 at 8:12 PM

I remember when I joined the military. I had four brothers in during that time. Back then, I had no idea what it meant to put that uniform on. I only knew I wanted to wear it. Let me tell you what I learned.

Most people first get dissuaded from the military because of the nine-week basic training. They remember scenes from movies like “Full Metal Jacket,” where the drill sergeant is overly cruel. They do not understand his job. Basic training is there to break you down physically and focus you mentally. 

Some of the best advice one of my brothers gave me before training was: “Ignore the yelling and cussing. Focus on the order and complete it.” Drill instructors yell to create a loud atmosphere just like a battlefield. Explosions, gunfire, and lots of yelling will ensue in a normal battle. If one’s mind is not focused, people could die.

Basic training is only the tip of the iceberg. It branches off into a completely new world. Family is the first part learned. In a moment, you gain thousands of brothers and sisters. For most soldiers, going to war means one thing: protecting the soldier next to you. It’s not like any other camaraderie. Your life is in the hands of these people, just as their lives are in yours. 

Within that family a language is born. A language only used by a soldier. This includes excessive use of acronyms, pointing at someone with the “knife hand” point, and using words like “Oorah” or “hooah” as a term of agreement.

To be honest, the signature on a piece of paper gave us the title of soldier, but there is no piece of paper out there that can give you courage. It’s what separates real soldiers from the ones who just wanted to sign up. It does not mean you have to go to war to prove this, but to be ready for when the time comes.

It’s not easy taking on the responsibility of defending another man. That’s what makes a soldier special. If you see someone in uniform or a veteran walking around, give them a shout. They are all true heroes in my heart.

Beau Bruneau | voices.spectator@gmail.com

Tags: military, uniform

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