Summary: After the parades, here are four other ways to celebrate Veterans’ Day.
- Why Veterans’ Day?
- Four ways to celebrate Veterans’ Day
- Other posts about Veterans
- Video: History of Veterans’ Day
(1) Why Veterans’ Day?
Veterans’ Day originally celebrated the service and sacrifices in the first of the modern era’s mad wars. Started by miscalculations by leaders on all sides. Waged due to their unwillingness to admit mistake, and lies to justify what happened and continuing folly. Four years of incompetence: “Lions led by donkeys.”
WWI holds special poignancy for us, as we’re in another such period. The War on Terror, a bizarre formulation (“terror” is a tactic, not a foe) Fought without plan, consisting of serial failures from which we learn nothing, against an every-changing poorly defined enemy, with no end visible. A mad forever war, like our War on Drugs.
We ask our men and women in uniform to fight for us. The right or wrong of the conflicts, the responsibility for them, lies on us — the citizens at home who elect our leaders — not on those who carry out our orders. So on this day we celebrate their service, without which the Republic would not have survived.
(2) Four ways to celebrate Veterans’ Day
(a) Support our troops, active and retired
Flowers on graves are nice. But donations or volunteering show your support for our troops in a more useful way. Here are three organizations that provide valuable support to our troops.
(b) Force Congress to better fund care for Veterans
There is no excuse for underfunding care for veterans. Even during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan veterans’ care has been a problem — well reported in the news for a decade. It’s in the news again. Unless we speak out it will be in the news again next year.
Our military leaders have proven that they care about funding for things — like the malfunctioning, insanely expensive F-35 — more than the people who fights our wars. We need not follow their example. Fix it now.
(c) Hire a veteran
Lots of men and women leaving the service now that our wars wind down and DoD’s mad over-funding gets cut. Give them a helping hand. There are many programs matching veterans with jobs, such as Hire Veterans.
(d) Stop our vain wars
Let’s add no more chapters to American history describing wars that did nothing for America, like Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan. It’s a democracy. We bear full responsibility, collectively, for sending our troops into harm’s way — for what they do, and what happens to them. Now our government sends them to Africa, expanding the Africom footprint, as usual with a inchoate impulse such as that which created the British Empire — but without the profits.
Fate has given America — for a time — “the fateful lighting of His terrible swift sword”. We have the obligation to wield it wisely. Increasingly since 1960 we have used our force for trivial, evil or mad reasons. For partisan political advantage, to reshape other peoples in our image (for their own good), and to support and increase US power.
You might believe that we have no obligation for proper use of the military, to our forefathers or to the other people of the world. What about the men and women fighting our wars? We recruit them to defend the nation. To deploy them for other reasons is to betray that bargain. Perhaps we should create a force of mercs to fight our venal foreign wars, as France has in the Foreign Legion and Britain in the Brigade of Gurkas.
John Quincy Adams gave us sound advice in his speech at the House of Representatives on 4 July 1821:
… if the wise and learned philosophers of the elder world… should find their hearts disposed to enquire what has America done for the benefit of mankind? Let our answer be this: America … has held forth to them the hand of honest friendship, of equal freedom, of generous reciprocity.
- She has uniformly spoken among them … the language of equal liberty, of equal justice, and of equal rights.
- She has … respected the independence of other nations while asserting and maintaining her own.
- She has abstained from interference in the concerns of others, even when conflict has been for principles to which she clings …
Wherever the standard of freedom and Independence has been or shall be unfurled, there will her heart, her benedictions and her prayers be. But she goes not abroad in search of monsters to destroy. She is the well-wisher to the freedom and independence of all. She is the champion and vindicator only of her own. She will commend the general cause by the countenance of her voice, and the benignant sympathy of her example.
She well knows that by once enlisting under other banners than her own, were they even the banners of foreign independence, she would involve herself beyond the power of extrication, in all the wars of interest and intrigue, of individual avarice, envy, and ambition, which assume the colors and usurp the standard of freedom. The fundamental maxims of her policy would insensibly change from liberty to force.
(3) Other posts about Veterans
(4) Video: History of Veterans’ Day
The History Channel page about the History of Veterans’ Day.