Saluting with misty eyes
First, I would offer my apologies for not replying to this earlier...
As to my thoughts:
The reason that men.. especially young men... join the service KNOWING that they will eventually be called upon to kill or be killed is because it offers them a challenge to face (Are they man enough to handle it??) and there is always something romantic in a young man's eyes about going to war, and such as that. We grew up listening to our grandparents, and the stories of the "greatest generation" (which I believe they are), and the stories of our fathers and how tough it was. We want to live the ideals and the serice and sacrifice of our grandparents, and prove that we are as tough as our parents.
Although young men join the service "knowing" the risks, the NEVER truly know the risks until they are either hiding behind a barrier praying for it to stop, or they are putting rounds down range praying for it to stop.
As for MJ's brother... he doesn't want to leave his unit... his brothers when the time gets tough. He knows that members of his unit might possibly get killed, and he is hoping to be able to stop that from happening. He has no, in my thoughts and experience, any desire to fight, or prove himself rather he chooses not to leave his brothers in their time of need.
To put a final phrase on it that it much too wodely used, and at this time very much appropriate, "If you had to ask, and were not there, youy simply would never understand."
In the wooden chair
Beside my window
I wear a face born in the falling rain