I've been reading "Gates of Fire" By Steven Pressfield, which is a fictionalized account of the Spartans battle against the Persians at Thermopylae. The Spartans superior training and professionalism, in addition to amazing courage, allowed them to stand for days against foes that outnumbered them that would have caused many armies to have routed before the first blow.
It got me thinking, a few weeks ago I went with a buddy to watch his boy play in a lacross tournament and we sat on the sidelines shooting the shit with another father that my buddy sort of knew. We were mostly talking about the kids playing and a little about some good hunting spots that my buddy and I had been scouting that morning, but the other guy talked a little here and there about his service in the Army and what he thought he would be doing over the next few years as he headed toward having enough time in to retire and he talked about having to go to Iraq or Afghanistan like we would have talked about having to maybe work second shift for awhile.
It's kind of shocking to think that that kind of quiet, gangly guy with his sneakers up on a plastic cooler full of gatorade for his kid is part of a military that for the last decade has fought of enemies in numbers maybe even greater than the 300 Spartans faced thousands of years ago and against a foe, who just like the persians, is looking to crush the same democracy and freedom that were starting to flourish in Greece.