I enjoy action movies, but I never confuse the pampered star — equipped with a personal assistant, bottled water, and color coded M&Ms — with the sweaty, straining hero he portrays on screen. Ben Stein went one further and wrote a whole book about the real heroes, the men and women who, at incredible risk to themselves, for low pay, and in situations of extreme discomfort, put their lives on the line every day so we don’t have to. The book is The Real Stars : In Today’s America, Who Are The True Heroes? and here’s a video clip of Stein discussing the book:
The friend who sent me the link to this video, and who is himself retired career military, added that he never confuses those in the military with “gods” (and thank goodness for that, since human gods always end with feet of clay). He does, however, recognize that people who enter the military, especially those who make it their career, do it more for the idealism than for the money. It’s not until you’re a high officer that the pay gets good, and even then it’s not equal to what people with the same skills could earn in the private sector. And people in the private sector don’t have to deal with the high risk and discomfort that is a regular part of military life.
As I say every time when I stop and think about our American military — thank you!