For the past ten years I've served. I've served in war and in peace. Stateside and in two sandboxes.
I'm closer to retirement than not, I've lost comrades in arms along the way. Somewhere along the line I married a woman who has stuck with this whole lifestyle, even have two sons waiting back home. My life has significantly changed, but I'm not sure I have.
I don't serve because of 9/11. I was in a chow hall at Fort Hood eating breakfast when the world turned upside down. Ten years is a long time to be at war, a decade. I don't see it ending any time soon. AFRICOM has stood up, the Phillipines aren't cooling down, Pakistan and India are not getting any better.
We have a generation of professional soldiers who have served, and will continue to serve. We have a generation of military families who have never known peacetime service. The Army isn't broken, far from it. The Army is tired. Tired but still ready to serve.
What bothers me more is that while we do have real enemies on the ground the continual erosion of civil rights and liberties due to the encroaching police state makes my service a mockery. But at this point it is just my chosen profession. I get paid twice a month to do a job that I'm pretty good at. And as long as you are good at your job there is nothing dishonorable about honest work. I can't guarantee that the freedoms other soldiers fought and died to protect will be there for you, only that there are still those willing to fight and die for them.