Why we serve

Farragut, TN

Why We Serve
By LT Robert Pollock, USS SAINT PAUL (CA-73)

Like many, I have been asked numerous times what it was that motivated me to enlist in the Navy those many years ago. After all, there was a war on and many of our contemporaries were doing all in their power to avoid serving in the armed forces. Like others of our generation, I came from a family with a strong military background. My father went in with his regiment on D-Day. All his brothers, and many others in our family, were combat-tested in either WWII or Korea. We have Purple Hearts, unit citations, commendations, Bronze Stars and numerous other awards hanging in dens throughout our family homes. Many of the grandchildren, of which I was the eldest, were products of the war. At our family dinner tables growing up, there were many conversations surrounding work ethics, service to our country, patriotism, American exceptionalism and what our future roles might be. To my mind, those dinner conversations had a significant impact and likely led to my taking the tests and signing those enlistment papers. My sense of duty did not arrive overnight; it grew over the course of many years. It grew a little at a time until one afternoon I just decided. I decided to serve.
For each of us, our commitment to America was an individual decision. It was not a choice taken unadvisedly. We did not all have the same reason. What was yours? It was probably not a path many of us foresaw only a few years earlier. Yet, were we once again young and facing a similar choice today, my bet is that nearly every one of us would likely sign on to serve our country again. If called upon, would not we all serve our units again with pride and honor? Would we not all wish to lead or stand alongside all those other great brothers or sisters once more? Why? Because the same sense of love and devotion to our country and one another continues to course through our veins. Yes, these are difficult days; they are beyond just difficult. You can hardly turn on a news program where you do not hear something derisive about our nation, or its people, or its history. But none of that changes our hearts. None of that erodes our sense of duty or pride of service. Our love of country is implacable, unconditional and unmovable. That is why we served, and that is why we would serve again were we asked! May God bless our Beautiful America!

« Previous story
Next story »