Today is Veteran’s Day. It used to be called Armistice Day, but then people started to forget that it was a holiday meant to celebrate the end of WWI. I guess it’s hard to celebrate the end of one war when so many others have followed.
I watch ESPN quite a bit, not because I really need to see all of Lebron’s highlights, but because it makes nice background noise to doing just about anything else. They’ve been celebrating Veteran’s Day all week. Paying “tribute” to the military by going to bases and holding college basketball games. They also say that we all need to thank our troops and veterans for their service; after all, we couldn’t watch 24 hours of sports every day without their sacrifices. That might be true, but I’m not very good with being told how I’m supposed to feel or act. Not by idiots like Skip Bayless, anyway.
I understand logically what a huge thing it is to serve in the military. It is an immense and incredible sacrifice, and I appreciate that there are men and women willing to make that sacrifice so that I and my loved ones do not have to. In that respect, I am grateful. But what I really feel for our current troops is more akin to guilt. I don’t want to thank them. I want to walk up each and every one of them, shake their hands and look them in the eyes, and say, “I am so sorry that you were sent far from home to get shot at and blown up for no good goddamn reason.” Because that’s what the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan amount to: a lot of fighting and killing and destruction for nothing. I’m sure someone will want to tell me it’s for freedom, or about liberating oppressed people. Or that it’s because of 9/11. Or any other of the specious reasons pundits and war mongers have been using ever since The Shrub ordered the invasion of a sovereign nation that WAS NOT CURRENTLY ATTACKING US. I’m gonna stop there because the whole thing makes me so angry I could spit. Hundreds of thousands of innocent and not so innocent people have died because the United States seemed to think it was a good idea to start a war on an idea. You can’t fight an idea.
This is starting to get away from me, so I’ll just cut to the song. Yeah, I know I’ve posted quite a few Springsteen tunes, but this one pretty much sums up the futility of what’s been done to our troops for the last 11 years. The look on Springsteen’s face pretty much sums up how I feel when I think about these things: hopeless.
Thank a veteran. Apologize to a veteran. But remember that they’re people, not icons.