My family’s last war

May 26th, 2018 by Ken

The Balsley’s came to America in 1763 from Switzerland, by way of England, where they had been on the losing end of a religious war.  Balsley’s have fought in every war the colonies and later the United States have had.

It was always assumed that we would join the military and upon high school graduation my two brothers and myself joined up.   My brother Ronny to the Air Force, my brother Roger in the Navy  and myself in the Army.  I don’t remember any great discussion about the merits, it was just what you did.

But, that chain of Balsley’s fighting in every American war, has come to an end.  Not one of my current family members has joined the military in the last two decades.   Vietnam was our family’s last battle.

This Memorial Day weekend I’ve been thinking about our veterans and how a whole generation of Americans have never been forced to take up arms in defense of this country.   The all-volunteer army has taken away the democratization of the military.

While hundreds of thousands of men and woman have fought in the war on terrorism, millions more have had no involvement  with the struggle.  It’s estimated that only three percent of the American public has had any contact with the war. That leaves the new veterans without a major support group.  The World War II vets are almost all gone, as are the Korean War veterans.  The Vietnam vets are the only one left to give their understanding and support to today’s vets.

On this Memorial Day weekend, I think of my brother who is buried in Centralia and wonder who will mind his grave a generation from now.

Posted in The Real News


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