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When a child asks about the military

JOAN VENNOCHI wrote about her emotional struggle with her son's question about serving his country and her concerns as a parent in supporting his desire to do so (op ed, June 14). Those of us in uniform recognize the struggle, having experienced it many times.

Many have experienced the same struggle again as parents. Not to mention the many times during our term of service that we have had to turn to a spouse or a child and answer their questions: ''Why you? Why can't someone else go instead?" Were you to ask any one of us, you would probably receive an answer like ''because the nation needs me" or ''because I am willing to protect our way of life" or ''because it is my duty that I have sworn to uphold."

So Vennochi has experienced something with which the military is well-acquainted. The scary part is that there really are hazards associated with protecting our freedoms. But what should give her comfort, and what she might have told her son, is how hazardous life would be if young women, and young men like her son, all said ''not me; not in this war, not in any war."The future would be worse than she thinks.

VINCENT K. BROOKS
Brigadier General

US Army Chief of Public Affairs
Washington

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