Veterans Day 2013 Reflections: Can we Honor our troops sincerely without questioning ?


Americans and war go together like, well, Americans and war really. There is no greater pairing! We love war so much that when we want to eradicate a social ill or nuisance,we declare war on it: War on Cancer, War on Poverty, War on Immigration, War on Christmas etc. I was inspired being an American to contribute to the effort and declare war on on Intimacy about a year and change ago.

wars-e1312518055191Today I am in a conundrum: I want to support the troops but to which war? I have many too chose from: The Spanish American, The Mexican American, The Apache War, The Civil War  The Phillipine -American War, The Occupation of Haiti, The Occupation of Nicaragua, the Occupation of the Dominican Republic ? There are so many how can an honest American even choose?

I could of course  support some wars and not support others but that smacks of hypocrisy and a lack of nationalistic pride, written in our social contract is our unquestioning loyalty to the policies , ideologies and i would imagine atrocities committed in the same of keep us free?

The Troops

2vet_t658I met many servicemen over the past and they are always great people, because they survive with the suffering from war. Many of them manage to work raise families, and be contributing members of societies. It is estimated in the United States one out of every four homeless persons is a Veterans.  We laud our veterans in our ceremonies and do not help them of course get jobs, we do not help them integrate back into society.

Let me quote from a veteran suicide note (the note can be read in its entirety here):

You must not blame yourself. The simple truth is this: During my first deployment, I was made to participate in things, the enormity of which is hard to describe. War crimes, crimes against humanity. Though I did not participate willingly, and made what I thought was my best effort to stop these events, there are some things that a person simply can not come back from. I take some pride in that, actually, as to move on in life after being part of such a thing would be the mark of a sociopath in my mind. These things go far beyond what most are even aware of.

To force me to do these things and then participate in the ensuing coverup is more than any government has the right to demand. Then, the same government has turned around and abandoned me. 

Should I tell you what happened to Daniel ? 

He had made several attempts to get medical treatment for an array of health problems. Because his National Guard unit was still in ready reserve status, the Veterans Affairs Department medical center in Phoenix refused him treatment because he was not yet officially a veteran. The local Defense Department health care facility denied him services because he was not on active duty. He described his post-traumatic stress and traumatic brain injury symptoms in these words: “unrelenting depression and a generally joyless existence,” terrifying nightly panic attacks, and “unbearable anxiety and fear in any situation in which I don’t have complete control of the surroundings.” In addition, he wrote, he had a “constant bombardment of violent thoughts and images.” His physical symptoms included acute and chronic pain from fibromyalgia, which was so “grinding” that at times he could barely move; chronic fatigue so severe that “just holding my head upright requires more effort that I can bear”; excruciating headaches that could “easily be enough to strike an entire day from my calendar”; and an extreme case of irritable bowel syndrome that “literally controlled my schedule.”

So What are we Celebrating Really?

wounded-veteran-support-benefits-300x300

Can we honor the sacrifices made by the troops who have been cast aside and ignored by the system after given their best for what seems to be out-right inhuman belligerance  without calling into question the military industrial complex and the lives it has forever shattered?

11 thoughts on “Veterans Day 2013 Reflections: Can we Honor our troops sincerely without questioning ?

    1. Thanks for the comment YePirate. I’ve met a few vets from a variety of wars and hearing their stories always touched me deeply.This post is really for them. In the end I dont know what a post like this can do but at least Im hoping vets know that the people care ya know ?

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  1. That we don’t take care of our military is wrong and terrible. I think we can honor the men and women who have fought to keep us free without agreeing with everything done by our country as far as war goes. The names Veteran’s Day and Memorial Day say nothing about the “military industrial complex” and everything about those who cherish what we love enough to go in harm’s way for it. Yes, we can honor them. And then we can try to take care not to go to war unless necessary and to take care of those who go there.

    janet

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    1. Hello Janet,

      Nice to meet you. Not taking care of our military is pretty despicable. I agree with you that we as a Nation have to be more self-conscious and aware of the reality of what happens to our troops and the innocent people who die that fall under the label of collateral damage. I do wonder if the American people protest or speak out against a war or a conflict we may be entering would that be enough to stop it? I also do not know how to honor a veteran. They have my respect and admiration. But I dunno if it is enough.

      thanks for you though provoking comment
      Dave

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      1. I think we honor them by standing up for them when the military (meaning the people) are denigrated and called names. We can honor them in small ways by thanking them for their service when we see them, buying them a coffee or picking up the tab for their meal. I’ve done some of those things. Participating in a USO Christmas event (or hosting one) to give gifts to children who have a parent gone for the holidays is another way. I realize most of those are for currently serving men and women. I’ve seen several vets with caps from their unit or commemorating their service and thanked them for their service. They were so grateful and I’ve had some amazing conversations with them as a result. There are also excellent groups that help vets who come home and need help, such as the Wounded Warrior Fund and other groups. I’m not endorsing them over another, but just using them as an example.

        Thanks for responding, Dave, and it’s nice to meet you, too.

        janet

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    1. Andy,

      It’s a pleasure to hear from you ! Welcome.

      Iw as at a bar not to long ago there was a Marine there, and you could see he was breaking down but trying to hold it together. It really touched me. I do not know why the government seems to abandon the troops once they return home? I also do not know why they engage in conflicts which I feel and I may be wrong, that we have no business in. Its heart breaking to see your fellow countrymen to sacrifice so much and then be shat on

      Dave

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      1. I am proud of Americans today. The Nam vet were spit on, called Baby killers and truck load of everything you can imagine! Today people take time out of their day to go to the airports and welcome the troops home! I love that! Now if we could get the govt to respect the vets it would be great! I understand vets are on a two year wait for their disability claims now! Thanks! Andy

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