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Under the Age of Eighteen and in the Military
As this great nation is currently in a time of war, many young
Americans are stepping up to the plate and enlisting into one of the services to guard our nation and its future. How young is too young? Who is the deciding factor in this and what age is it socially acceptable to allow these young Americans to take this ultimate challenge?
According to the United States Code, Title 10, Section 505, "The Secretary concerned may accept original enlistments in the Regular Army, Regular Navy, Regular Air Force, Regular Marine Corps, or Regular Coast Guard, as the case may be, of qualified, effective, and able-bodied persons who are not less than seventeen years of age or more than forty-two years of age. However, no person under eighteen years of age may be originally enlisted without the written consent of his parent or guardian, if he has a parent or guardian entitled to his custody and control."
As this law was written many years ago and the U.S. turned over many centuries since, some may tend to wonder if this law is current and coincides with today's society. Some consider a person at the age of seventeen a child while others state otherwise whether the parent consents or not. Does this mean that just because the parent consents to allow their son or daughter to enter into the military will make them just as good as or better than someone a year older will? In some states, being an active duty military member has its privileges. Age is not a requirement to have a concealed weapons permit as long as you are on active while others that are not have to wait until the age of twenty-one. Additionally, in most states you have to be at least eighteen to serve alcohol. Gladly, there is no law stating a clause to have a lower age to buy and consume alcohol for active duty military. Personally, this pursues down the avenue of bringing maturity with age. This nation draws the line in most cases that at the age of eighteen a person is now an adult and can make decisions on their own behalf. Although this has its different views and sore moments, it is especially hard to swallow when looking at it from the parent's point of view.
As most parents raise their children to be strong and successful as they prosper through life, the last thing on their mind is the thought of their children entering into the military service. Rightfully so and viewing the issue from the outside. Most parents will put military, war and death in the same arena. As many think through this, they will support their children if they join the military, but they do not want to sign their consent at the age of seventeen. For example, if a child commits to service in the military and endures the ultimate sacrifice for their country, the parent may feel a sense of responsibility if they signed and consented for their child to enter the service before eighteen.
Is it right and correct for the law to state as it currently does? On the other hand, is a revision the next step? There are several reasons the law is valid. It not only helps the parents from their children evading the home, but also protects the child from making a decision that they did not think through and regret for the rest of their life. No matter what the subject is, at the age of seventeen most kids think they are always right and their parents are always wrong. When someone joins the active duty military, it is a binding contract for eight years of an obligation to serve. If the contract is broken, unless permitted by law, it is a federal offense. Most seventeen year olds are not ready to make that type of commitment.
Fortunately, we live in a great nation that has checks and balances when passing and enforcing laws. While there are some we may not agree on, it takes a vote to put them into action. As this country has a strong and powerful military that stands at the forefront of everyone,'s future of freedom and while entering into the military is a huge decision that everyone has endures in one way or another, finalizing that decision at the age of seventeen makes it more complicated. Gladly a nation looks to see the young men and women that are guarding the gates to heaven and sanity; they are the young individuals that those proud parents raised.