Photos: Platon, for the New Yorker
- Strategic: patriotism, service to country, adventure, self improvement, "wanted to make a difference", tradition*
- Tactical: escape from a dead end job, access to job training or healthcare
- Logistic/Opportunistic: "It seemed like a good idea at the time."
The reasons people give will often fall under #1, but the longer I look at it the more I think the core reason for any big decision is #3.
*Bonus quote from the photo essay thumbnailed above:
How strange in 21st century America to have your path in life picked out from birth.
Sergeant John McKay, a marine whose uncle and grandfather were marines, and whose three-year-old son posed in uniform at the wedding of a cousin, also a marine, said, “He’s just waiting till he’s eighteen.” He went on, “I’m scared for him, but if he wants to do it I’ll support him.”