I’m blogging mid-week to honor the men and women who have served our nation’s military. From our earliest formation to today, they have served in the best way they could—whether it be in the military or by its side, as in the many civilian support personnel who often, for a variety of reasons, could not enlist formally.
I have a nephew who is in active service now. Three of my four brothers are veterans, my father and one uncle were in the Navy, another uncle in the Air Force, as was his wife. My mother served in the Civilian Air Patrol.
And our family’s military service goes back further generations, as it does for many others across the nation. This week my sister came across a photograph of my great grandfather in his uniform.
I think of the many immigrants who have come to this country and served before they were citizens. They felt duty-bound and honor-bound to serve the nation that accepted them. And I cry for those who have been pushed out by policy and politics; instead of being honored, they were scorned.
Scorned, too, for many years were those who served in Viet Nam. It was a tumultuous time. I remember protesting our presence there, but also knew that our soldiers were not the cause of our presence. A friend and colleague counseled returning veterans as they tried to study on a college campus rife with mixed feelings over how to accept them. I learned a lot from her as we sat over beers at the pub after work and talked about the stress and turmoil they faced. Their problems went far beyond how people accepted or rejected them, although that sometimes made things worse. It was difficult to balance it all and focus on moving forward. Some never did.
Our nation ended a civil war a century-and-a-half ago . . . We shouldn’t need Black Lives Matter—but we do.
Our nation ended a civil war a century-and-a-half ago. Strife over economic issues, states rights versus federal rights, opposition to versus proponents of slavery, and a presidential election contributed to that four-year war. Somehow, these sound a little too familiar, a little too close to today. While one major factor—slavery—would appear to be off the table today, racial justice has taken its place. We shouldn’t need Black Lives Matter—but we do.
As we observe Veterans Day today, 11/11/2020, we all must consider our thoughts and actions going forward. Our military have served us since its inception. It is our family—brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers, uncles, aunts, cousins, or the generations before or after. It is time to come together and peacefully resolve our differences so we don’t repeat the tragedies of the past. We need a military that is ready to fight for our freedom and defend us from our enemies, not each other.
Hats off to all our Veterans.
Thank you for your service.