I never really got it when people would say things like, "Thank you for your sacrifice." Just felt weird. I'd think Dude, I'm getting paid. Obviously it's more apparent now. You just don't realize the extent to it when you enlist, I don't care who you are.
You hear about the IRR, but it won't happen to you. You probably won't get stop-lossed, except for maybe an extra couple months or something. Not that much of a sacrifice, it's new and exciting. The fucking ARMY, dude! Kickass!
And then maybe one day it hits you with the force of a Mac truck. You sacrifice EVERYTHING. Put it all on the line, gambled with all you got and more. Can't be who you want to be. You have to fit into a mold, a very specific one. There's reasons for all of it, yeah, I got it.
Specific haircut, clean shaven, natural hair color only, no piercings, restrictions on tattoos, where you can go and what you can do, how you conduct yourself. You completely give yourself away. No longer your own. That's a hard fact when it stands up and stares you down and you realize just how wrong you were about your world from the day you inked up those government forms.
I still don't regret enlisting, I probably never will. I do regret that immediately after things take an incredibly positive turn in life, the Army needs more. And the Army comes first, no matter what you think or how you feel.
Not gonna like it, gonna do it anyway. What, something's fucked up in the world and soldiers are getting the short end of the stick? That isn't news.