Veteran Lawmakers Sound The Alarm: Not Enough Americans Serving In The Military

As we head into Memorial Day weekend, two congressmen who’ve served our country in uniform are raising a red flag about the state of our military. Rep. Pat Ryan, a Democrat from New York, and Rep. Mike Waltz, a Republican from Florida, sat down on “Face the Nation” to discuss what they see as a growing problem: fewer and fewer Americans are stepping up to serve.

According to Ryan, the fact that less than 1% of Americans are currently on active duty is “deeply problematic as a democracy.” He’s worried that as the gap widens between those who fight our wars and the rest of us, we’re losing touch with the sacrifices being made on our behalf.

Both Ryan and Waltz have been working hard in Congress to boost military recruitment, and they say their efforts are starting to pay off. But they know there’s still a long way to go. That’s why they’re doing things like participating in a yearly tradition of hand-washing the Vietnam Veterans Memorial – to show that despite their political differences, they’re united in honoring those who’ve served.

But these two vets don’t just want to see more people in uniform. They’re also calling for a renewed sense of national service across the board. Waltz pointed out that serving your country doesn’t have to mean joining the military. It could mean working in a national park, tutoring kids in the inner city, or taking care of the elderly.

The idea, according to Waltz, is to get young people out of their comfort zones and working together with folks from all walks of life. He thinks the government should incentivize this kind of service, maybe by offering benefits to people who give a year of their time after graduation.

At the end of the day, both Ryan and Waltz believe that if we want to keep our democracy strong, we need to start thinking differently about what it means to serve. They’re hoping to lead by example and inspire a new generation to answer the call – whether it’s in the military or in their own communities.