(CNN) –On the anniversary of the September 11 attacks, presidential candidates John McCain and Barack Obama each take the stage to discuss service and civic engagement in a forum at Columbia University.
What do you think of their ideas? How does the role of service determine what kind of nation we live in? What does national service mean to you?
Along with CNN Senior Political Correspondent Candy Crowley, CNN Senior Political Analyst Bill Schneider, CNN Political Analyst Roland Martin, and Republican strategist Bay Buchanan, thousands of you weighed in.
Click "comments" below for a look at the entire conversation.
Ron: I too am ashamed that I never served in the military. I'm 38 so, from what I gather, I could still go in but with a whole mess of young kids...it just doesn't seem right. Frankly, I support compulsary national service. My father still keeps in touch with people he served with and it is a very diverse group. Mandatory service would strengthen our country.
In the end we will all realize that a 72-year, 3-time cancer survivor cannot be trusted in the Oval Office if the next in line is a 44 year, 2-year governor from one of the nation's least populated states.
Experience? Well Obama has none either!
Very well, but the American people think he deserved to get FIRST BILLING on his party's ticket. Voters actually went out and made a choice. People made a judgment on his background and decided he deserves a shot.
Nobody did that with Sarah Palin. As a matter of fact, she wasn't even good enough to get into the primary. She is all style, no substance. The Republicans are gearing up to lose it all.
Barack where was your wife on 9/11 memorial...Cindy was with John McCain, or was your wife more proud of the terrorists and not America....
Did anyone from CNN view the interview that McCain had today with a news anchor in Maine? It was very revealing in terms of their approach to answering questions related to Palin's foreign policy experience.
Military service is NOT necessary to be president or even be a great president – FDR did not have any military experience!
Roland you took the Doctor comment right out of my head!
They talk the talk but never ask for a sacrifice...just keep shopping!
Sargent Wag wake up. Many of our soldiers today have no intent on going to war. Many want a education and a steady payckeck. Although giving your life is physically is selfless there are many who give all the days of their lives and get nothing in return either. MILITARY is not better than anyone. Although it is greatly appreciated it is not the only slefless act of community and country.
Nick form CA
I disagree, it is not that young people are not compelled to serve, its that young people need to choose between paying for student loans or serving their country.
Bay, when was the last time the McCain campaign even talked about improving the schools. You are working really hard for McCain tonight..
Right on, RM! Thanks for the comment, I agree totally. Does military service immediately qualify someone for office? Does having been a POW necessarily qualify someone to be President? No! Bill Clinton didn;t serve & he presided over the eight most peaceful & prosperous years in our history. Conversely, Bush didn;t really serve either & look what's happened on his watch. Military service is not the litmus test for any position...
More than anything else I am finding that Obama and McCain agree more than they disagree. The difference? Karl Rove politics directly contradict McCain Peace and cooperation message. I find it very hard to believe he is sincere, but Obama is far more genuine and believable even with the same message. Its like McCain is a kid that steals from the cookie jar all the time telling you he doesn't care about cookies and Obama is the good kid that never takes any. Which one do you believe the guy with his hand in the cookie jar or the guy that always seems to do the right thing? There are beginning to be real reasons, with McCain's campaign style, to stop trusting him.
What If, What If , after 911 the most horrific act probably inflicted
on the US in the US since Pearl Harbor. The president used this
to embrace the need to get away from the dependency on foreign
oil. What impact would this have had on the American people, the
Auto indusrty, the oil companies.
NOW PLEASE, why would anyone vote for McCain? When Obama's ON MESSAGE. . .
Why does nobody mention that the current administration has been the ANTITHESIS to this concept of service across the board. They totally stuck this thing straight to military and their families, and from us they hid it with tax cuts on borrowed money, sticking it to our kids. Shameful! They wouldn't even let it touch us in the form of coffins on our TVs. The current administration is getting undeserved cover from this campaign. I would like to see the Obama campaign take the lid off of this when they reveal to the nation over the next eight weeks that McCain is 'w's Siamese twin.
I feel if you don't want to serve your government (local or federal) then you shouldn't expect them to help you. If you serve, they should pay for college.
How can he say what he is saying ? How can Obama talk of the military as he does when he has yet to serve in any shape himself ? How can his short days he has spent in the government allow him to feel competent to serve this country in the highest office ? In my opinion, he is trying to skip to the front of the line without waiting through what everyone else who has the proper dedication to get to the front has done by patiently waiting !! If I wanted to ride any roller coaster growing up, I had to wait in line for the proper time !! I could NOT move straight from the end of the line to the ride without going through the line !! What makes Obama think he is qualified to do what no man or woman that has ever walked this earth could do ?
Senator Obama just said that we are the wealthiest country on earth; however, given our current deficit which is only continuing to grow, I don't know that we are the wealthiest anymore. And, how can young students volunteer for service, whether it be community or otherwise, when they will be busy trying to pay back their loans for schooling. I come from a family of 10 and their was not enough government back then to help pay for college for me and my siblings, so we didn't go to college. As it is, my father worked 2 jobs all of his life to support us and we are all honorable American Citizens and help our neighbors whenever we see the need. The government can't afford to pay for students to go to college. We are already spending above our means now and that is not a lesson we should be teaching our children. When we were growing up, we were a one car family and we made it by walking or sharing rides, etc. Now, every child at driving age has to have and usually gets their own car. So are we spoiled perhaps in thinking we absolutely need it to survive along with our 2 & 3 cellphones each?
obama is right on point about all issues very engaged ..
If we would mind or own business, we wouldnt need so much military, chairty begins at home
Good point concerned.
Nick from CA
I don't blame younger people for not signing up for the military right now. I wouldn't sign up for anything run by an incompetent CEO (Bush)
Are we discussing what is more honorable or what is important to each individual and how that person can best make a difference
now she's quoting lincoln to cover up her quote that she made to her church about "god's task", this is going to be fun to watch her
evaporate slowly over the next week or so. why obama didn't pick hillary i will never understand, hopefully he'll come to his senses and start campaigning with her and announce that she'll be our next
secretary of state! that should bring the poll numbers back up as well as make a great team to run the country.
Mary im disappointed in you...you are starting to make Glen Iffel look conservative.