I did three ROTC physicals today. ROTC stands for Reserve Officers' Training Corps. In return for financial assistance for their college expenses, students complete training sessions while in school, and fulfill a military commitment once they're out. They graduate as officers, bypassing the unlisted ranks.
My job was to make sure they didn't have any glaring physical problems or contagious diseases that would prevent them from doing the rigorous PT (Physical Training) program.
All three of these young people were vigorous, healthy and intelligent. Each had an upbeat attitude about their education and their future. They were polite and correct, answering my questions with "Yes Ma'am" and putting their best foot forward.
As I handed the finished paperwork to the last patient, he thanked me with a breezy smile. I looked at this young man, healthy and whole, and marveled that he and the others would voluntarily take this step. The first step on a path that could lead to unknown lands, to injuries of body and soul, even to death.
"Thank YOU for your future service," I responded. His face softened and this time his smile reached his eyes .