This is the second letter to the editor I have written in my nearly 75 years.

I thoroughly enjoyed your editorial in the Memorial Day paper. I thought it made a great deal of sense.

For the record, I was there when our nation went from a draft to an all-volunteer service. I was there for President Richard Nixon’s Project 100,000 idea to take all those criminals off the streets. I was there for the first draftees to arrive in Vietnam combat units. The main point that really caught my eye in your editorial is that our nation has shifted from the concept of a “citizen soldiery” to provide for the national defense to what you called a “specialized vocation.” That is true, as much as I hate to admit it.

The all-volunteer service has been a smashing success, but at a cost of educating the vast majority of our citizenry about the ramifications — not to mention the educational value — of military service and the potential outcomes of a foreign policy that is shortsighted or which fails to fully consider where our national interests are concentrated, or where our national interests are not paramount.

Sadly, so many of our politicians seem to not even have a clue!

“War is hell,” to quote Gen. W.T. Sherman, and that thought is as relevant today as it was in 1864. We must choose our leaders wisely, and I pray that the two present leading candidates will grow up and move to the center to appropriately govern this great nation.

Fred T. Fagan

colonel, USMC, retired