November 11, 2012

Veterans Day

Veterans Day

Today is Veterans Day in the United States. It is an occasion where we extend our gratitude to those who have served our country in the armed forces. It is a day to honor their commitment and sacrifice.

These are worthy activities, and yet, we would be remiss in not doing something beyond paying lip service to these ideals. When we see that the same political party that pushes "strong national defense" at every opportunity has been calling for cuts to Veterans' benefits, we owe it to our Veterans to shine a spotlight on it. Supporting our Veterans should be one of those rare priorities with real bipartisan support.

With this in mind, I'd like to suggest that we take a moment to do three things today:

  1. Give some thought to the costs of war and recognize that U.S. involvement in various wars comes at a high price, not merely in the form of taking funds away from every other way we might use them (e.g., healthcare, infrastructure, education) but also to the young men and women fighting and dying;
  2. Pledge that we will continue to pressure our elected officials to support funding for Veterans' services so that our Veterans will receive the assistance they have earned; and
  3. Support the Military Religious Freedom Foundation and their efforts to defend the rights of secular men and women in uniform from those seeking to promote Christian extremism in this context.

On Veterans Day, most Americans seem to agree that we owe our Veterans a debt of gratitude. Unfortunately, what we mean by that seems to vary wildly. As far as I'm concerned, we owe them more than our thanks. We need to uphold our end of the bargain by taking care of them now that they have taken care of us. "Thank you for your service" is a positive sentiment, but I have heard from some Veterans that it has become nearly as empty as "thoughts and prayers" when it it rarely seems to be accompanied by anything tangible. It needs to be accompanied by something tangible, and I hope we can remember that long after today.