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“The Watchers” is a film adaptation of the 2022 book of the same name by A.M. Shine.
Review: “The Watchers”
Published June 13, 2024

History inspires duty to serve

WBy Joseph Rosche When I was 18 years old, just out of high school, I traveled to Hawaii to visit Pearl Harbor. I barely understood the world we live in or felt firm in any set of values. As I stood on the small bridge over the sunken U.S.S Arizona, with over 1,000 U.S. dead entombed below, however, I felt so much duty to honor their sacrifice. But how?

Over the years following that trip, I lived in Washington, D.C., and regularly visited the monuments there. I felt so much pride and honor in the U.S. cause that I gave regular tours for visiting friends. Always there surrounded me the solemn dignity of the military’s service and sacrifice. What would our great republic be if the military did not exist? I don’t believe it would even exist.

Our military is an expression of the vitality and integrity of our nation. The commitment of every person in service is what preserves our freedoms and advances our cause. When I visited Hong Kong at age 16, the 7th Fleet came in. I still remember the awe and respect the people gave our men and women in uniform. I felt the legacy of Theodore Roosevelt’s Great White Fleet.

Seventeen years later I was living in Israel. Terrorism and fear of war were a daily experience. My love of the United States skyrocketed, however, because I was surrounded by several U.S. war veterans going as far back as World War II. It was an amazing experience to see such people so eager to continue working for what is right, that instead of doing nothing in retirement, they go to the Middle East to volunteer in support of our allies.

When terrorists attacked our country on Sept. 11, I returned to see Ground Zero and the Pentagon. Whatever lack of focus I might have had was lost then. The time for words had passed; the time for action had arrived. Dedication is impotent unless we are prepared to act on it. So, gathering all my pride in the United States, honor and respect for our military, and recognizing the call to duty that integrity in dedication demands, I set aside the casual life and joined the Army at 35 years old.

These months of training here are some of the best of my life. There is much diversity, but I see many young men and women giving their best and proving the United States is strong and healthy. I believe the people here are the best there are. My instructors have a strong and clear sense of service to the nation. Most important to me, though, I am doing things I never thought possible and becoming a part of the world’s greatest and most noble military ever.

Ronald Reagan said each American has a rendezvous with destiny in which we will strengthen and advance our republic, or not. I know more each day that our nation is strong, healthy and eager to overcome the challenges ahead. For the young ones, and older ones like me, this is the greatest adventure and fulfillment of duty you can imagine. The drill sergeants instill values in us that will be vital throughout life, while also teaching us skills needed in today’s world. And I know that finally I am meeting my destiny in duty to honor this great country and join in the service of our military.

Joe Rosche is a University alumnus. He is in training to become a combat engineer in the Army. This column originally appeared in Fort Leonard Wood’s Guidon on Jan. 30. Send letters to the editor to [email protected]

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