From Jason Lief
Why don't presidents fight the war,
Why do they always send the poor?
System of a Down - BYOB
Where Soldiers Come From is a PBS documentary that was aired last year chronicling the plight of a group of high school friends in Michigan who join the National Guard. They joined because they needed work, they needed money, and the National Guard offered $20,000 to sign on - plus money for college. They all ended up in the middle of war. The film focuses upon the difficulties many of them had fitting back into society upon returning home. Substance abuse, PTSD, abusive relationships - war had radically changed them.
I come from a family that has military experience. My grandfather was in WWII and at my request he sat down and recorded himself talking about his his time in France and Germany. He hit the beaches of Normandy the day after D-Day. He talked about the bodies and the carnage, not in heroic terms, but with sad resignation. Later in life he refused to participate in Memorial Day parades. "That's for the soldiers who had desk jobs," he'd say. My dad was in Vietnam and he still won't talk about it - I've tried. He just tells me "I don't have to talk about that with anyone." When I was a kid I remember my dad didn't want anything to do with my friend's dad who was a doctor. He came from money and he got out of going to Vietnam. My grandpa was drafted, and my dad enlisted because he knew he was going to get drafted. They didn't have money, they weren't going to college. So off to war they went.