Let me start this off by telling you that the stuff I'm going to be saying in this post doesn't apply in every case, so don't get offended/upset or declare a Fatwah please. Or do, it's up to you.
Right, where to begin.....? I know, the whole "heroes" thing that's applied to servicemen.
Heroes. It's an evocative word isn't it? It (for me at least) conjures up images of the charge of the light brigade, Rourkes Drift, Ned Kelly........that sort of thing - people being a bit steely in the face of insurmountable odds, being unflappable in the face of certain death. If we move this onto our modern soldiers, does this situation ever really occur anymore? If it does, it's certainly never reported in the media here - so I shall assume it doesn't.
So then, with our modern forces generally stationed in and at war with countries whose residents are usually armed with nothing more dangerous than a kebab in a warm pitta bread and a pointy stick, the "hero" thing doesn't really work for me - and from my point of view is more appropriately applied to the woefully overmatched forces we're fighting against.
"But they're protecting us." Protecting us from what, exactly? Iraq and Afghanistan have never declared war on us. When they do, protect us then.
"They're fighting for our freedom." I was free before they went. I will be free when they return. Thanks for that.
The conclusion to this missive is that my feelings on the matter are this. If you have any alternative to joining the armed forces as a career, choose the alternative. There's no glory or heroism in fighting opposing forces that are no possible threat.
I expect to cop some flak for this, but that's the way it is I guess.