In America at least, we predominantly recruit high school seniors to fill the ranks of the military. That means the decision to join the military becomes a family decision. I suspect that it’s often an easier decision for the person joining than it is for the parents.

My parents were very supportive. Even though my dad was an active duty Marine when I joined, it was my mom, not my dad, that lectured about service. I remember her saying that we live in a great country and we ought to give something back.

Still, when it comes time sign on the dotted line, there has to be mixed emotions. On the one hand, people want their kids to grow up to become responsible citizens that contribute to society. On the other hand, people naturally want to keep their kids out of harm’s way.

I was in boot camp during Desert Shield/Desert Storm. My older brother was with 1st Battalion 8th Marines at the time, and my dad, then stationed in Germany, requested orders to serve in the region.

My mom had a tough time with all this. She was conflicted–not because of any deep seeded qualms regarding the conflict at hand–but for a more primal reason. She wanted us all safe.

It all turned out okay for us. My dad’s request for orders was denied, and the cease fire was called a few days before I graduated boot camp. My older brother came through unscathed even though he did see combat as his unit was one of the first into Kuwait.

So what about the rest of you veterans out there that had to get permission? What was it like convincing your parents to let you join?