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To the Editors of The Crimson:
I am writing you this letter in response to the article which appeared on Tuesday, March 21, 1989, entitled "ROTC Holds First Drill on Campus in 20 Years." Although the article was factually correct, I was greatly disturbed by what Jaron Bourke '88-'89 and Professor Wylie said. Bourke said that "the militarization of college students is the unfortunate consequence of financial need and lack of commitment to higher education for all people." Although the financial aid of the ROTC program is helpful, it is not the only reason I decided to enroll in the Navy ROTC. I take great pride in serving my country and defending our democratic principles. In regard to higher education, I don't see how the teaching of leadership, responsibility and honesty can do anything but raise the level of education.
Bourke goes on to compare an ROTC student to an "indentured servant" who sells away 4 years of his or her life to get an education. This implies that I don't want to enter the Navy, but am forced to by lack of funds. This is just not true. Becoming a naval officer is one of the best opportunities I will ever have, and even if I weren't offered any money, I would still stay in the program.
I can understand how a student such as Bourke, who has never lived through a war, could make such statements; but Professor Wylie's remarks are way out of line. He said that "students who [want] to practice killing their fellow humans [can] go to MIT." I would like to remind him that the purpose of the armed forces is to defend America and prevent other nations from killing our citizens and destroying our property. If it weren't for the brave men who gave their lives to protect this nation, none of us would enjoy the liberties and freedoms which we hold so dear.
If Harvard is so anti-military, then why does it honor those who died in combat with such monuments as Memorial Hall and Memorial Church? Military service is an honorable profession, and I have faith that the students and faculty at Harvard have only the utmost respect for our armed forces. Sumner Anderson '92
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