It is a shame that the public seems unwilling to grasp that virtually all our military adventures are lawless, imperial barbarisms, violently robbing others of their freedom and autonomy enabling the US people to continue living in fantastic opulence justified by a sense of exceptionalism while we callously outsource the consequential pain and suffering inflicted on innocent others and the sacred earth. Our veteran “service” does not protect our “freedoms”, though it does preserve freedom to rob, pillage, and rape, destroying and repressing others devoid of genuine diplomacy or “democracy”.
. . . In effect, I was a complicit cog in a vast murder money-making machine organizing genocide against people I knew virtually nothing about, people simply seeking preservation of their own self-determination from outside imperial, lawless forces. That I was brainwashed and duped is an understatement, but I quickly realized the absurdity and criminality of my participation. Thus, it is painful to hear the persistent “thank yous” which in fact serve only to justify an unthinking continued support of US wars, ad nauseum. This absurd habit of thanking veterans for our service performs a terrible disservice to a genuine search for a truthful national history.
h/t: Popular Resistance
Another veteran shares a similar sentiment as S. Brian Willson.
Certainly sentiment worth our consideration. Every human being has the right to refuse orders, especially those which violate humanitarian laws, or are crimes against peace.
I agree with your impassioned plea if indeed those who thank veterans do so with the limited intention you assume in your piece.
I do not.
When I thank veterans for their service, I do so because I realize a vast majority of them had no (or very little) choice in their service. I do so because I cannot fathom the atrocities many of them experienced during their forced service. My heart weeps for their families who had to endure countless nights with their loved one in danger – far, far away.
That is why I thank veterans for their service and I will continue to do so. Not out of some mindless sense of patriotism, but out of compassion for a lived experience that they did not willfully choose.
In that case, instead of thanking them for their ‘service’, consider expressing compassion and sorrow for their having suffered needlessly. Rather than passing along a cultural meme that carries an implied endorsement of war, it better expresses what you think and actually produces a counter argument to the current meaning of this meme. ‘Support our troops’ is another of these memes that sounds innocuous but isn’t.