The soldier is necessary to defend the realm of it's owners. The soldier is necessary to defend the people who work on that property. The soldier is one of the few places a man can go to and legally exercise the primal energy nature has instilled in him for millennia.
The iconic soldier is strong, persevering, dedicated, and follows- what I call- the philosophy of the arrow- the unbending will to accomplish the goal as expediently as possible without waiver. The mentality of the soldier is so universal it has often been applied to increase the productivity or efficiency of businesses and industries, or to increase the discipline and focus of youth.
In a post I made a brief distinction between the romanticized version of the Viking versus my opinion of the real version. Similarly, I wondered on the distinction between the soldier because I believe many people- raised in a society that worships its military- function under the idea that soldiers are the iconic knights shown on television. The same kind found on the commercial. I served as well, so I know when someone sticks a camera in your face and asks you the reason for joining or reenlisting, it's almost reflex to say any one of the cliche'd responses you hear in media time and time again. I like helping people...I want to defend my country... Or I want to take on the Big Baddie of the day.
Politics and ethics aside, I simply wanted to focus on the reality of the soldiers experience specifically.
For one...the stresses of the environment that is war is something that cannot- in any way literary- be understood by anyone not in that particular situation at that particular time as that particular person. You cannot equate the experience of one soldier in one ambush to another. You cannot equate the brutality inflicted by a soldier to that of another. Each has it's own context and its own effect.
For those who have stories to tell, what separates the young and inexperienced from the tried and true? What things would you warn about or what stories would you tell to give a person who has never seen conflict an idea of what being a soldier really means? This is NOT exclusive to simply combat scenarios. It can be something as small as crippling homesickness.