Veterans Day is approaching. Taking place in the United States on November 11th, it is a day to remember and honor all soldiers who have served in the military. While Memorial Day is meant to honor those who gave their lives in combat, Veterans Day is for all who have served.
Many countries throughout history have had standing armies. Recruiting and conscripting from the general population can boost your numbers but formal training can enable your armed forces to specialize in new technologies and abilities that can give your military an edge over your enemies. Most soldiers receive physical training and must spend time away from their families and friends for periods of time, honing the skills they will need to protect their fellow soldiers and the field and those back home. Every armed force has many roles to fill. Foot soldiers, drivers, engineers, snipers, porters, communications experts and more, not to forget those who organize the units and design maneuvers, ordering soldiers into place. All serve and all serve their purpose both in times of peace and war.
People join the military for many reasons. Some join for love of country. Some join because of family tradition. Some join because they don’t know what they want to do with their lives. Some desire job security or a way to get training in a field they would like to switch to. Others have debt they can have forgiven or lessened if they serve. Others know they’ll be drafted or conscripted and given poorer treatment in the military if they don’t join of their own volition. Some just want to shoot people. And others know if they get through their obligation, they will be rewarded in the end. One of these, all these, a combination, none of these. From the lowly foot soldier hoping to be a general one day to the technician trying to keep their head down and get through this, they all have their reasons.
Most countries offer benefits for those who have served. In Ancient Rome, soldiers could receive land or money when their service was up. Spoils of war were available for those who came across it and were allowed to partake. Citizenship and all the legal benefits that entails, renown, awards and titles for exemplary service or even assurance of a peaceful afterlife have all been rewards soldiers could look forward to.
War affects both civilian and soldier. When military conflicts loom large in the history of your PCs, what are the results and how are they honored and remembered for the work they have done?