With the very first weekend of summer upon us, and as we celebrate our 2020-2021 high school and college graduates, as we partake in cool delicious watermelon and mouth watering bar-b-que, we must not forget the true meaning of Memorial Day. As some of us celebrate a day off work and school, we reflect on all of our men and women in uniform as they proudly serve our country. They serve us daily in four branches of service, The Army, The Navy, The Marines, and the Air Force. As we reflect on these true heroes this coming weekend, we also remember our high school and college graduates who will be joining one of these four branches of service immediately after graduation.

A Rocky Road

Over the past few years, there have been intense talks in congress about making it mandatory for all high school graduates to serve our country in one of the four branches of service immediately after graduation.

Built To Last

Around the world, other countries have their own militaries, it varies how people are chosen for these military services based upon the country’s laws. Some of the countries allow it to be voluntary, this is what is known as a draft. A draft is when a group of people such as men over the age of 18 must sign up for military duty but will not report for duty unless they are chosen to serve. Other nations make it mandatory to serve, some of those nations are Bermuda, Berundi, Cape Verde, Columbia, France, and Kuwait, Mali, Singapore, Mauritania, Sweden, Thailand, and Venezuela. The United States is not included in this list because all males between 18 and 25 must register with the Selective Service to be drafted if needed. The United States has the highest defense spending budget of any other country.

Nations Requiring One Year

Nations that require just one year of Military Service upon graduation of high school are Algeria, Bolivia, Columbia, Guatemala, Kazakhstan, Moldova, Paraguay, Mongolia, Russia, Taiwan, Tunisia, and Uzbekistan.

Short Term Service

Several nations require no more than 18 months of service. Those nations are Azerbaijan, Belarus, Benin, Cambodia, Cote d’ivoire, Cyprus, Egypt, Georgia, Kuwait, Laos, Morocco, and the United Arab Emirates.

Why Serve?

For many graduates entering into any branch of the military, there are a lot of benefits of choosing to serve our country:

  • Basic Pay, this is usually when enlistees first enter the service at the E-1 service grade it’s a monthly payment of $1,785. The Typical recruit will advance to an E-4 level within three years of service advancing their pay to $2,330 a month
  • Special Pay – this is when military members receive incentive pay based on their assignment, location, or special skills
  • Free Room and Board
  • Free Health and Dental Care
  • Low Cost Life Insurance
  • Disability Benefits
  • Home Financing

There are also some risks involved in serving. Many of those risks include becoming injured in combat either physically or fatally, also Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is a heavy risk that our service members face each day.

Memorial Day Gratitude

The true colors of all of the branches of the military will forever be in our hearts and minds in all that we do, whether it’s in our family at home, our church, our work places, even the grocery store. We all know someone who is currently serving or is retired from the service. On Memorial Day, as we dine in delicious bar-b-que, and mouth watering watermelon, our hearts will be filled with thanks for the service that our men and women provide our nation. So that we all can celebrate Memorial Day as we always remember and never forget.

Written by: Gary Taylor

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