A Culture of Our Own

19 Nov

Think about it a minute, is the military a culture? Why?

My immediate reaction was yes. However, I didn’t immediately think of a 100 reasons why. I said yes, but why did I say yes? I looked up the definition of culture and chose what seemed to be the most commonly accepted and most fitting in my opinion. Culture is the totality of what a group of people think, how they behave, and what they produce that is passed on to future generations (Jervis, 2006). Now think of our military life and I’m sure you can think of those 100 reasons why!

America is full of more cultures than we could even begin to count. Funny though, I never stopped to think of the military being one. Now that I have I can’t help but think of all the little/big things we do in our way of life that help create this culture.

What we think…

  • We live this life and support the military to ensure the safety and freedom of our country.
  • We don’t live this life for the fame, fortune, and ease.
  • This life isn’t easy, but we do our best.
  • Home is where the military sends us!
  • Anything is doable with positive thinking and support.
  • Freedom isn’t free!

How we behave…

  • Adaptable to change
  • Take everything with a grain of salt. Nothing happens till it actually happens.
  • Create a shield that allows us to make friends and create a new family with each duty station while preventing us from having our heart broken when PCS season hits.
  • Depend on technology to maintain relationships with deployed service members and family and friends.
  • We salute or remove our hats and stand with our right hand over our heart for the National Anthem and reveille/retreat/colors. (I always feel pride when my kiddos react properly while a civilian looks around confused when the National Anthem is played before a movie on base.)

What we produce to be passed to future generations…

  • Knowledge! Think of all the words of encouragement, suggestions, warnings, etc. we share with our fellow service members and family members. We all do it!
  • Websites, blogs, magazines, and books have been created and continuously evolve to preserve and share our way of life, our traditions, and our stories and memories.
  • Our children! We raise our children in this culture and provide them with first hand knowledge of what this life is like, which enables them to decide if the military life is desirable to them.
  • Policies and procedures. We constantly evolve and improve them to make our life easier. (Okay, sounds kinda lame, but its true! Think of the steps families went through 30 years ago each time they PCSed compared to what we go through now. Today our system is much smoother and easier. Yes, there is always room for improvement.)

I know you thought of something as soon as you read those three parts of a culture, what are they? What makes the military a culture?

Another thought, how many subcultures are within the military? I can think of each branch being one, female spouses, male spouses, children, single parents, deployed service members, spouses of  deployed service members, those living overseas, and the list goes on and on. Each of these groups are made up of people who live a very similar life and therefore think and behave similarly while producing things to pass on to future generations.

I believe our military is what it is because we have created such a strong culture that continues to evolve and grow with today’s constant changing world. Throw whatever you want at us and we will come together to ensure we handle it the best we can while teaching our future generations how to do the same.

Jervis, N. (2006). What is a Culture? Retrieved November 19, 2011, from http://www.p12.nysed.gov/ciai/socst/grade3/whatisa.html

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One Response to “A Culture of Our Own”

  1. L. J. Roff November 19, 2011 at 9:18 pm #

    Very good job Kelly. I am impressed with your writing and so is your Mother.

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