Diversity in the Troops

Jim Fausone
Veterans Disability Lawyer

One of America’s unique features for the last 238 years is the diversity of the population.  Over time the diversity has been broadened from British, French, German, Polish, and Irish to include people from every continent. Sometimes they came for the opportunity and sometimes they were forced to come to the country.  Each wave of immigrants brought different religions and customs.  The country’s ultimate acceptance of that diversity, which has not always been readily provided, has strengthened the country.  The military has been forced to accept diversity from Native Americans, African Americans, Japanese Americans, Mexican Americans, Indian Americans, etc.  The military has been a social experiment as well as a melting pot.  In every instance, the military is a better organization for it.

With this in mind, I want to echo the need for more Indian Americans and in particular Sikhs in the service of the country. Indian Americans comprise about 3.18 million people, or about 1.0% of the U.S. population.  In 2007, there were estimated to be approximately 250,000 Sikhs living in the United States, with largest populations living on the East and West Coasts with additional populations in Detroit, Chicago, and Austin.   

In the Detroit area, I have friends and business associates who are of Indian heritage that are of the Sikh and Muslim faiths.  I know they enrich the community in which they live and are grateful to be Americans.

It is reported that “The United States should change its policy to allow more Indian Americans to join the military without compromising on their religious beliefs and practices, the only three Sikh soldiers in the U.S. Army say.”  This would allow Sikhs and their offspring to more readily serve the country in the military. The wearing of a turban by a male is a tenant of the religion.  This article in the India West profiles the accomplishments of the three Sikhs currently serving.  It also makes the point that Sikhs serve in other militaries around the world with slight adjustments to the dress code.  Let us continue on the path of being a tolerant country and military.

Read more at http://www.indiawest.com/news/15912-sikh-soldiers-want-more-indian-americans-in-u-s-army.html#g9D6oJSHzsAkHyKK.99

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