Summary: On this Veterans Day let’s remember not just those who have served our nation, but the causes in which we have used them – and how we have treated them afterwards.
A powerful thought for us on Veteran’s Day from One Hour’s Stour, posted on Veterans’ Day in 2009 at Unqualified Offerings (no longer online).
“Wikipedia has the short, sad story of how Armistice Day – a holiday ‘dedicated to the cause of world peace’ – became, as of 1954, a day honoring the military as such.
“I regret the change. The US already had Memorial Day for military members killed in action, and Armed Forces Day began in 1950. A third military-focused holiday would already be overkill even if it wasn’t a perversion of the original meaning of November 11 remembrances.
“As John Quiggin reminds us today, November 11 marks the blessed if temporary end to one of the great calamities – crimes – visited on people by their leaders, and by people on each other. It is meant to be a day dedicated to hating the waste and sin of war.
“While the impulse behind Veteran’s Day seems “grass roots” enough, it depended on the assent of the powerful to enact it. You can see why the government would have embraced a chance to change that holiday’s focus. As for me, I’ll exercise my personal veto. Happy Armistice Day.”
This reminds us of an essential aspect of Veterans Day. It evolved from a celebration of peace and the end of a mad war, to another flag-waving celebration of war. This matches the evolution of America from a self-absorbed nation devoted to commerce and personal freedom, to a militaristic imperial State. This is a day to discuss how this happened, as we enter the 19th year of our mad post-9/11 wars – wars begun in lies, neo-colonial in goals, incompetent in execution, expensive in the blood of our patriots, and consuming so much money urgently needed at home.
On Veterans Day we can look and see that not all of our wars are like WW2, great wars against evil bringing forth a new and better world. Most of our wars more closely resembled WW1. They are…
- fought for delusional reasons,
- by Americans’ excitement about the war aroused by propaganda,
- with inconclusive or even inimical results for America and the world,
- from which we learned nothing.
Despite our glorification of war and everything military, foreign wars have seldom worked well for America. The slaughter of the Civil War ended slavery, but slavery ended without such a war almost everywhere else – and also without America’s century-long stain of Jim Crow (state-sanctioned terrorism against Blacks). WW1 was followed by our failure to join the League of Nations that we advocated – and the madness of the Versailles Treaty, the Great Depression, Hitler, and WW2. We botched the Korean War on every level. And now, the serial failures – repeated foolish mistakes – of our 4GWs in Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan, and an ever-growing list of nations.
Note the downward spiral. Bin Laden’s massive success on 9-11 lured America into a great mistake. Now our ruling elites, and the government they control, sees the world as a battlefield. Including the “Homeland”. We have turned onto a dark road, which will probably destroy the Second Republic (built on the Constitution) and lead to a bad end for us.
Every holiday is a moment for reflection on our past, present, and future. We can learn from our past and resolve to build a better future. Veterans Day is an ideal day to begin. Learning and resolving to do better are a tribute we can give to honor their sacrifices.
Other ways to make Veterans Day count
(a) Shake up Congress! Force them to adequately fund health care for veterans and active duty troops.
(b) Hire a veteran!
(c) Support our troops, active and retired.
- Support the Blue Star Mothers of America.
- Support the USO.
- Volunteer at the Veterans Administration.
(d) Support the creation, funding, and use of Veterans Courts, so that soldiers with PTSD who get into trouble are not thrown into the gutter. Like this Corporal was. Most are strengthened by military service, but some break under the strain. First created in 2008, they offer treatment for drug and mental health issues as an alternative to prison. Veterans act as mentors. See this resource guide.
Click here for more information about these ways to make Veterans Day count.
(5) For More Information
Ideas! For shopping ideas see my recommended books and films at Amazon.
- Is post-traumatic stress disorder more common now than in past wars?
- A Veteran’s Day warm-up: broken soldiers are treated like garbage.
(6) A video history of Veterans’ Day
The History Channel page about the History of Veterans’ Day.