Not the only group despised

June 27, 2014 

Jim Walters, in a letter in the BND on June 19, refers to career military people as "lifers" and wrote how he despised them while he was in the military and still does.

Just as Walters stereotypes career military people as lifers, I used to stereotype men with long hair, mod clothes and beads with peace symbols as "hippies" and "peaceniks." I hated them then and still do now.

In 1971 (a year after Walters was discharged from service) military pay scales soared to new heights. Even for junior enlisted people, it was decent pay. Afterward, many new recruits were young men who shortly before then had worn long hair and mod clothes. In other words, hippies and peaceniks. Money was the enticement of them discarding their hippie attire and conforming to military grooming standards.

When the military began to attract new recruits who shortly before then had been contemptuous of it, I began to wonder about the quality of soldiers being produced. However, as Henry Ford once said, "It is not the employer who pays wages. He only handles the money. It is the product that pays wages."

Walters' letter was as amusing and comical as it was memory reviving.

Frank B. Austin

O'Fallon

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