Your article about Zoe Bedell ’07 (cover story, June 1) arrived shortly before Memorial Day, when we honor — and rightly so — those who have given their lives in the service of our country. However, the military, as a profession, receives little respect on our college campuses. ROTC units are more tolerated than appreciated. There are too many examples of those indignities, not limited to Princeton but across the country.
When I graduated from Princeton in 1964, I joined the Marine Corps, and from the first day, my experiences became life-changing. To the Zoe Bedells of this country, my most sincere thanks. Like thousands of others, you will never be a “former” Marine, regardless of where life takes you. To those who take comfort in criticizing the military, including members of our own administration, I would urge you to think about our values we hold dear and why we have, for centuries, relied on our military. The men and women in our military live their lives on the edge — never knowing whether their next breath will be their last. This simple truth exists in all combat areas. I have lived it, as has Zoe Bedell.
And yet, and not withstanding the knowledge of those dangers, these men and women carry out their duties in ways that would amaze the public. Although the military mission involves armed conflict, the humanitarian efforts are more than significant and are more than worthy of our applause and admiration.