Donald Kagan has a great piece in the New Haven Register on why Yale (and other schools) should bring ROTC back to campus. The piece has a particularly moving passage on the heroism of the American soldier:
Since the end of military conscription and the formation of the volunteer army, our country has drawn a remarkable quality of person into military service. They are rare among their peers, because our armed forces are very small in proportion to the greater population that is as unmilitary, often, indeed, anti-military as any that has ever been.
They have chosen to exchange the easy pleasures of American civilian life for a strenuous, demanding life of self-discipline. These young people want what good people have always wanted: to win the respect and admiration of their fellow citizens for the quality of their character as demonstrated by their deeds and behavior. They are a rare breed of idealists, evidenced by their actions rather than their speech.
Their other great motivation is patriotism. It is a love of a country that was born in a fight for political liberty. They know that in the 20th century, their country stood up against enemies of freedom and for popular government time after time. They take pride in their country and regard service in its defense as the highest honor, worthy of their commitment and sacrifice.
Read the whole thing here.