On Service

This post raises more questions than answers!

I heard someone on the radio discussing that being a soldier was a service rather than a job. At first I was confused with the points he was making but it got me thinking about what we mean by service. My trusty old Roget’s Thesaurus lists the following under Service: good, utility, use, warfare, servitude, worship, rite.

Are there different levels of service & do they require a different response from us? Obviously the war in Afghanistan is often in the news as is the loss of life that it is incurring. The Army, Air Force & Navy are referred to as ‘The Services’ but what does that mean? Does it refer back to the time of conscription & National SERVICE? Those officers in it will tell you the Navy is the Senior Service! Those who go to war – are they in the service of their country or is it a job that they applied for?

If we think of other ‘Services’ we might include manual jobs such as dustmen, cleaners or , utility engineers like electricity, gas, water. What about nurses, doctors, police & teachers? Do they not provide a service? If there are different levels of service what rights goes with each level. Is it about the possibility of losing your life? Soldiers clearly face that every day but sadly we have also heard of firemen dying in blazes, policemen being shot. Only recently a teacher was on trial for manslaughter after the stress of his job became too much for him.

What about the many people in service industries who have lost their jobs because of the recession? Do we have a duty of care to them? We are expecting large cuts in the ‘Public Service’ budgets. That is bound to compute to loss of jobs but who will look after those people?

The point being made was that returning soldiers should have homes & jobs provided for them. Does their ‘service’ entitle them to that? Who decides? Who provides? It was an appeal for money & fund-raising to support the various charities working on their behalf. As a nation should we rely on charities which have always played a role to provide for those amongst us who provide a ‘service’? If so should it be ALL groups? Should there be a charity for dustmen for example?
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