This one time at Writer's Camp…
Veteran’s Day and Me…
warning: strong language alert
There are rants, and then there is a rant. Fasten your seatbelt kiddies, for you are about to be bombarded with one hell of a rant. Oh, and that promise I made about staying away from politics? Uh, sorry…
For the record: I am a vet. I didn’t necessarily enjoy my service (12 on, 12 off’s for four straight years absolutely sucks) but I did something that I felt was right. In hindsight, it probably cost me some valuable time with continuing my education. On the other hand, it paid for said delayed education and ensured I have absolutely no student loans to deal with while the economy tanks. So I would call that a win.
Now, there is this woman who is not a veteran who recently suggested we should get rid of Veteran’s Day and replace it with something like “National Day of Service”. Now, I’m not a flag waving maniac when it comes to Veteran’s Day. I quietly thank those who have served either alongside me, before me or after me. It’s a way to honor those who have served in times of peace and in war. It’s not about warfare, though we do honor those who gave their lives for our country. And this, despite her stated “facts”, is the truth. Any soldier ordered somewhere, whether it be by the president or a lowly 2LT, is following orders which come from somewhere in the chain of command which is something they swore to do while upholding and defending the Constitution. They know this, and they accept it. Any individual who doesn’t realize that they are going to possibly be sent overseas or into a war should not be in the military. Period.
But this woman… she suggests that Veteran’s Day is not supported by vets. She cites how it destroys lives, isn’t celebrated by many vets, and needs to be replaced as something for everyone.
Here are some nuggets of wisdom from the “professed self-helper”, and the rebuttal from just another ig’nant minority vet.
(Self-helper) 1. What about all the other casualties of war?
For example, my mom and dad had me immediately after college graduation as a way to avoid the draft. I ask my mom and dad now how they could have been so incompetent as parents, yet so interesting in the world (really, everyone loves being around my mom, except her kids. It’s uncanny.) They each say that they had kids too young. They were totally unprepared.
(Ig’nant Vet) Your father dodged the draft by knocking up your mother right after they graduated from college. Congratulations, your father found a weird loophole I have never heard of. Admitting that your parents were incompetent is not the best way to start your argument about how the military (and war) destroys lives. You also ask (later on, something I didn’t clip because of space, time and because your opinion really is worth about two sheets of double ply) why we should be thanking only veterans for giving their time? Well, I’ll break it down for you.
- Veteran (n) a person who has served in a military force, esp. one who has fought in a war.
- Day (n) a day on which something occurs
So there you have it, that is why we celebrate Veteran’s Day. Hey, we’ve been open-minded about LGBT Month, why so pissy about a single day?
(self-helper) 2. Veterans of WWII did not “give their lives for their country.”
What else were we going to do in WWII? Stay out of war? Let Hitler kill two million more people? Let all of Russia starve to death? There comes a point when we are moral beings and we have to get involved because we could not live with ourselves if we didn’t. During WWII, women took over industry, and men went overseas to fight. Didn’t the women give up a lot in their lives as well?
(Ig’nant Vet) Most vets did not give their lives for their country because they’re still alive. Memorial Day is the day we celebrate military men and women who have died while in the military. You know, that day in May that people usually go to the beach to enjoy, since it usually kicks off summer? Barbeques? Ring any bells?
The moral ambiguity you enjoy as someone who has not traveled and served in a war-torn nation notwithstanding, the moral reason the United States joined the fight during WWII was because we were attacked. Yes, remember that? Dec 7, 1941? Japan, without any declaration of war, launched a massive sneak attack on United States soil. Hawaii wasn’t a state then, but it was still US territory. Then Germany and Italy declared war on us after we declared war on Japan, who had already pretty much declared war in the first place. You might think that those soldiers and sailors didn’t “die for out country” but I can tell you honestly that they didn’t die because they felt obligated to the people of Europe.
And as for the “Let Russia starve to death?” comment… why not? The Soviets did not declare war on Japan until the outcome was damn near decided, allowing Japan to have a secure western front while they focused their power on the Pacific. They torched their own land to prevent it from falling into German hands, then turned around and starved the hell out of Germany for the next thirty years while practically enslaving eastern Europe, who had just been victimized like a virgin during prom night by Nazi Germany. You want to see the difference between the United States and the Soviet Union? Compare East and West Germany. Who carried who after unification?
(self-helper) 3. Veterans of Vietnam hated Vietnam.
How can we celebrate people being veterans of Vietnam when they were forced to go there with a draft? It seems disingenuous to me to force people to fight in a war they think is totally stupid, and then tell them we celebrate their sacrifice. People want to be celebrated for what they choose to do, for what they are proud of, for what they feel like they did well. Vietnam veterans think Vietnam sucked. We can honor them by not fighting stupid wars anymore.
(Ig’nant Vet) Well no shit Sherlock, I don’t doubt that hardly any Vietnam vets wanted to be there. It sucked, it was miserable, it was lonely, and that’s not even considering the combat zones or enemy action.
Back then, they had this thing called the “draft” (you should know what it is, your dad manipulated his way to avoid it). Generally they randomly picked your name and shipped you off to the meat grinder. It was a waste of time placing young men into something they did not want to be in. The volunteer military is far better at finding and training people who want to serve their country.
You want us to stop fighting stupid wars? Tell stupid tinpot dictators to quit pissing in our Cheerios. If we stopped participating in “stupid” wars, then everything can go back to being like it was during the Dark Ages, where women can’t enjoy any rights and men run everything. Enjoy those 14 kids lady…
(self-helper) 4. Veterans of recent wars do not go in order to serve our country.
Okay. Please. I’m telling you the truth here: Anyone who has a great career ahead of them, and makes enough money to support their family, and is genuinely admired for how well they have navigated their life so far, is unlikely to enlist in the armed forces.
(Ig’nant Vet) If vets of recent wars are not serving our country, then what are they doing? Obeying orders, which in the end serves the commander-in-chief, who is our president. Okay, so you disagree with the current wars. Truth be told, so do I. I think we should use overwhelming force, rebuild the place like we did in Germany and Japan, and leave. Let them self-destruct if they choose not to use the basic economic and diplomatic tools we’ve given them (and shown them how to use).
That little caveat of “anyone who has a career ahead of them and makes enough money to support their family is not going to enlist” is flat out wrong. Pat Tillman is the first example off the top of my head, though I’m pretty sure the list is long of people who make a good chunk of money yet go off to war when duty calls. Whether they are active duty or reserve, they are veteran’s who deserve to be honored and not lumped in with a bunch of college fuckwads who sit around and play Call of Duty all day while complaining about how horrible their lives are.
Honor. Duty. Courage. It’s hard to see those values for what they are if you don’t have the right mindset to achieve something that is far greater than your own self.
(self-helper) 5. We should replace Veteran’s Day with National Service Day
We need to think through again what Veteran’s Day means. And then cancel it. President Obama had a great idea calling for a National Day of Service – where we all get out and do service as a way to celebrate service. While he did not intend for it to be a yearly event, I think this is a fine replacement for Veteran’s Day. It is a way to celebrate service, and encourage service, without the hypocrisy of war.
(Ig’nant Vet) Okay, you just raised the stupidity level here. If you think about what Veteran’s Day truly means (honoring those who do more service in a four year commitment by military service), then you’d realize that there is a holiday for the “National Day of Service” already prepped and ready to go. It’s called “Labor Day”, which would make a perfect day for service. It’s a day created to celebrate unions. Seriously. You want denigrate our veteran’s by honoring unions but not vets specifically? Are you part of the cabal who thinks that Jesus freaks are coming to corrupt your children in the classroom because the kid wears a cross around their neck?
Seriously, think about this for a moment. We honor our veterans because we know that, deep down, they make sacrifices. They accept these sacrifices. Most of the veterans who have kids have re-enlisted at least once because they feel obligated or want to. Who’s forced to re-enlist? Nobody.
Your theories are annoying me. Keep Veteran’s Day and swap out Labor Day. Or would that be insulting to the many who are in unions and do not want to be, or those who are in unions because they would be financially ridden if they weren’t?