March 11, 2006

They seemed so much happier as citizens

Seen in Newark International Airport, this advertisement for the Army National Guard:

As soon as I saw it, I had to wonder whether or not it was sending the message it is meant to convey.

I mean, I can’t help but think that they seemed so much happier as citizens than soldiers. Look at those happy smiling faces. They’re relaxed. Enjoying life. And now look at them when they’re soldiers.

One girl even seems to have a look on her face as though to say, “Please help me. I didn’t know what I was getting myself into. I want to come home.”

Update: I just noticed the following in my visitor log (IP address redacted by me):


It looks like someone’s paying attention.


Remember, a smiling photo is generally not allowed on almost any governmental agency. Or, in this case, maybe they have taken a tip from the fashion show circuit. No one smiles there, the focus is supposed to be on the outfit or in this case the uniform?

You should know by now that the Bush administration is always watching. You can’t hide. And old Bushie has his cronies keeping an eye out for anyone who might be going against the grain.

If you hear footsteps at night, it’s probably Alberto Gonzalez coming by to collect you and send you down to Gitmo.

p.s. Can we get a slightly wider comment box here? It’s a wee bit narrow for all this nattering on.


Didn’t know you just enlisted did you! Secret plan, NatSec you know. Folks only told on a need to know basis. Nobody needs to know.

Hey, I’ve been there (4 years active duty, Army) & I can assure you, they definitely WERE happier as citizens. A LOT happier. “Please help me. I didn’t know what I was getting myself into. I want to come home.” SPOT ON! FTA!

funny thing is…this picture is all over thier promotional crap….address books, notebooks, basketballs, footballs, drinking cups, keychains, etc….it was the first thing i zoned in on and asked my recruiter about. he had no comprehensive answer…and also told me that deploying to iraq was “optional”. yeah right. I’m sure the 20,000 troops that bush is getting ready to send over were all volunteering…screaming ” pick me pick me! I’d LOVE to be away from my children and other family members for a year and a half because i love to get shot at!”

I was looking for this picture. I am the girl in the picture. If you don’t believe me, search for me as Eunice Estrada.

I was not saying “please help me” but otherwise, I felt HONOR to be apart of such a campaign in 2001. I was 19.

The Soldiers in the pictures WERE REAL SOLDIERS. Some of us still keep contact. Some of us are still serving PROUDLY.
Thank you for highlighting my picture and interpreting it as you saw fit. And I agree with a previous post. Generally, military pictures are not with smiles-that is a general guideline. Just because I was not smiling didn’t mean I was miserable. We were told not to smile. The intent was to send a message; perhaps some people didn’t get the message.

I received a shared link to this from my wife(Eunice Estrada ). I find it some what amusing how very differentsome individualscan interpret a single photo, it stands true that a picture is worth a thousand words. As for myself, that picture as what seems to be taken as a scared and clueless young woman who is now finding herself in a very different reality than once hoped for after enlisting is quite laughable. Any single person who has even had the honor to have known her would know different. Take the set of photos in different order, knowing the story of those individuals, the choice that they freely made. Look at her in uniform first, proud of her achievement, proud to wear the uniform. Now look a them in civilian attire, happy and smiling, yes. I do not see them as before and afyer images, but as what it is, citizens turned Soldiers during the Nations need of heroes, yet these heroes still hold duel roles returning to civilian life after serving. Still with happy faces and smiles, a sense of pride in what them have accomplished. I do not see what you see, I see a group of unique individuals, who where and many still are willing and able to take on the challenge of selfless service standing harms way for their family, friends, and loved ones. And as this link has shown, for those who many not fully understand nor agree with what these individuals find in serving. I acknowledge that serving is not for everyone, same can be said to any profession. Don’t take it upon yourself to assume that someone in a picture may appear unhappy that they are. I’d challenge anyone who truly thinks many of those individuals in that poster seems unsure and resentful to their decision to service, get to know them better. They will surprise you. I too enlisted in the Army National Guard, just over eigth years now and still in, yes there were times where everyone wonders what might have been if we had not signed. But for many of us the pride and honor we share in doing something so great for so many without thanks or acknowledgment is something that not many can experience. I joined on my own, to challenge myself, push my limits, diacover what kind of person I am capable of become. I did not join for college money, or respect, or because I had no other option. I chose, I aslo volunteered to depoy to Afghanistan, I wanted to serve, not just to wear the uniform and to say “I did my time,” but to actually know what it was to actually know war, an experience that has forever changed me. I am better for it, matured, stronger, thankful for everything I have. My name is Frank Estrada, Sergeant in the California Army National Guard for the better part of almost nine year and continue to serve. I am proud of the great things I have done and of those great Americans I have had the honor to serve with.

So this was pretty stupid. Obviously Tom must be a pus to say FTA. Obviously you don’t have the manhood to stare down fear in its face and walk away a man. Typical. Please do us a favor and the next time you have a negative comment regarding the military keep your mouth shut. And for the author of this article research more when it comes down to writing a piece. Get both sides of the story don’t just write about you think she is going through. Find out what they have all gone through, how their worlds change and how hard they all work to become the face of a military branch. When in uniform one must set the example and show a greater level of professionalism. When it comes down to how happy they are, maybe they bleed for this country in order to protect the little worthless lives such as the author that wrote this worthless article that after I read it I wish I could regain those lost 5 minutes of my life. When it comes to the soldiers I support them 100% because they risk everything for all of us that don’t have the bravery to protect ourselves. Both sides need to be stated not just one smartass opinion by a lowlife that has never held a rifle and fought for l what he/she believes in.

As all form of art these photos are certainly open to individual interpretation. The true meaning behind the photos you have missed. However, if you knew the “Young Lady”, yours would be very much different, Also, while you wrote this she was serving a combat tour in Afghanistan and I add she still proudly serves her country today.