Patriotism and Veteran’s Day

     I realize a post about Veteran’s Day several days after it’s past is a little behind the curve, but I have my reasons.  Some people aren’t going to like what I say here and I didn’t want to shit on those who have served their country so admirably by stirring up crap on a day set aside to honor them.  How could I possibly do that, you ask?  By pointing out some of the ridiculous flag-waving and jingoism I saw (and continue to see) in relation to soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines past and present.

Let’s start with Saturday night’s foreign policy debate among the Republican Presidential candidates.  Throughout the night, the majority of them came out in favor of continuing to put our armed forces in untenable positions by engaging in more foreign adventurism and the continued use of torture in interrogating suspected terrorists.  I’m sorry if this offends you, but I think the best way to honor our veterans is not to piss their lives away in pointless saber-rattling and chest-beating just so we look tough.  Nor should we send them to die on foreign shores, just so corporations like Halliburton can line their pockets with what can only be called blood money.  Some of these candidates insist that America is a Christian nation, yet they seem to ignore Jesus’ teachings on violence; things like “turn the other cheek” and “love your enemies”.  Strange way for a Christian to act.

I told you I was going to stir up some crap here and I’m just getting started.  Friday, I saw numerous pictures with pithy little sayings meant to honor veterans all over Facebook.  Here are a few samples I saved.

First, there are the flag-wavers:





Or, this lovely little ditty






This would be nice if all American soldiers had actually died protecting our freedom instead of the profits of some corporations.

There’s always the “cool, tough” look:






As a veteran myself, I find these things rather offensive.  Not least because most of the people posting them never served a day in their life.  It’s easy to wave a flag when you’ve never sacrificed anything for it.

Sadly, the only decent Veteran’s Day picture I saw was one I found while researching this article.  It does have a flag, but I don’t feel like it’s waving it about to reinforce the rightness of its cause.  I especially like the message it carries:




Many of my friends are pacifists and I stray very close to the idea myself most of the time.  What keeps me from fully embracing it is the fact that the world can be an ugly, broken place that feeds on the innocent.  As long as that is the case, we should remember the words of Winston Churchill (0r George Orwell, take your pick),

” “We sleep soundly in our beds because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would do us harm.”

Until the day the Kingdom of Heaven comes to earth, it is unfortunate that some form of military presence will a fact of life.  While we wait and work for that day, we should honor and respect those men and women in every possible way.  And, that includes not wasting their lives for money and power.