Tuesday, May 31, 2011


Stop Patronizing Our War Veterans

Memorial Day is always a solemn, contemplative experience for me and I am present to my lingering resentment that the blood of our heroes has been squandered by those who choose to send our sons and daughters into questionable wars under the guise of Fighting for Freedom or building democracies. For those of you who may be combat veterans, the bond of sacrifice and suffering that is shared by soldiers is understood. This past Sunday, while viewing the CBS 60 Minute special on Medal of Honor recipient, Sgt. Salvatore Giunta, the pain of anguish was overwhelming as I listened to Sgt. Giunta share how much he abhors the attention given to him for his heroic display of bravery in attempting to rescue a fellow unit soldier from the hands of Taliban resistors. Sgt. Giunta was emphatic: " I am not a hero; I am an average, mediocre soldier. There are many others who are braver and better soldiers than I." This candor on the part of Giunta helps understand his annoyance with the plethora of ceremonies acknowledging his combat heroics. He says that the exaggerated ceremonies singling him out are embarrassing and demeaning because he knows that often the organizers of such gatherings are vicariously feeding off of his anguish for their own aggrandizement.

American society over-learned its lessons in how we treated the returning veterans from Vietnam. Today, no one wants to be guilty of withholding the highest praise for the service and sacrifice of our combat vets who serve in Afghanistan and Iraq. The greatest insult to these incredibly dedicated combat soldiers is to squander their blood in questionable military campaigns that have no definition for Victory or the time for exit. They serve because they are dedicated to their duty to serve in spite of the madness of government policies that sent them to die pretending the sacrifice and dying was to keep America Free or spreading democracy. Our leaders cajole us with these pseudo rationalizations designed to facilitate our swallowing of the sacrifice of our sons and daughters. We Americans should expend less time with punch and cookies ceremonies lauding the sacrifice of our committed, patriotic heroes and more time issuing screams of outrage to our politicians for sending our soldiers into unwinnable, ill-defined wars. It is the grossest patronization to Thank a Vet for his or her service if you haven’t also written your elected representative to demand an end to the Afghan/Iraq campaigns and for priority medical treatment for returning veterans and their families. May God continue to bless those who suffer in service and their families who endure it with them.



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