Thursday, November 11, 2004
( 9:21 AM )
Thank you. There should not be only one day a year when people recognize those who have given part or all of their lives to serve us, to protect us, to fight on our behalf. But since today is that day, this is my chance to publicly say to you thank you for the roles you have taken in defense of this country, for 30 years of active duty in the military abroad and here at home, and these last years for the voice you have given to veterans and active duty servicemembers. You entered the military at a time when people thought they were facing the height of our government's hubris, horrific planning and wanton sacrifice of our sons and daughters. And here we are now, replaying a tune that sounds so hollow, one that accompanies the hundreds of returning coffins, the halls of military hospitals and echoes in the heads of so many parents, spouses and children left alone by this administration's grotesque manipulation of human lives. Thank you for showing how it's possible to live an honorable and true life, in service of this country and its citizens, and as a father and husband and grandfather that lives as an example of wisdom, patience, consideration and meaningful contribution to our world. I am so glad my son has a grandpa like you.
Today, veterans are honored more in word than in deed. I pray that in the days and weeks and years to come, that those words will turn into action that will truly assist our veterans to have homes, healthcare, physical and psychological comfort, and the honor they deserve. I'm doing my part today by donating a few of my small amount of dollars to Operation Truth in your name. If anyone is going to change the way those who have sacrificed for us are treated, it has to be us.
Thank you, Daddy, for what you have done and what you continue to do to preserve a democracy that we all hold dear.
Thank you. Thank you for continuing to serve this country after 8 years of traveling to almost every major war zone this country has participated in or initiated. You operate often in obscurity, with most Americans not knowing how much their protection and safety can depend on you and your mates. I want you to know that I appreciate you and honor you for what you do every day. Even the mundane days when you feel like you're banging your head against a brick wall. Even the days when you've been flying so long you forgot what solid ground feels like. And on that day last week when you wore your uniform to your polling place and voted against the man who has so far wreaked so much destruction on your comrades. You are my hero and I am so proud you are my brother. No matter what you decided to do with the rest of your life, you will have invested the best of your youth in the lives of people who don't even know you exist. And that is the truest and most amazing part of what you and the thousands like you do every day. Thank you - you are a person I would like my son to be like.
When you were young, you were suspended from school for wearing a black armband in protest of the Vietnam War. You saw some of your closest friends go to that place and either never come back or come back so dramatically changed that their lives were forever damaged. Yet you were ready to go. If your number had been called, you wouldn't have let someone else take your place. Later, even after growing up, you joined up anyway and served this country in places a lot of people don't want to live. You allowed yourself to be yourself while doing the intricate and important work that kept thousands of others flying and working for this country. You didn't agree with your commander in chief, you were distressed at the ways the military was being used, yet you served for many years in thankless loyalty. You have a unique perspective, and you have worked your whole life for causes of justice and liberty and the rights of the most vulnerable and the most forgotten of this land. You have stood up for the First Nations of this country, whose own veterans are left forgotten in the dirt and spilt blood of Wounded Knee and Pine Ridge. You are full of hope and yet able to honestly engage in the struggle with the dark side in our own nation that so many Americans are unable to even face, much less wrestle with.
You are the father I would have picked for my son before I knew you, and know that you are that father, I feel more blessed than I can say. Our son, no matter what kind of world he must grow up in, will be able to face it with truth, honesty and courage because of you.
If you are wondering what you can do today to help veterans, go to Operation Truth and learn about what's going on and hear the voices of those who are serving us now. Then give. Give your money, your time, your words, your prayers and your actions to make sure that none of these come home, whether with broken or whole bodies, broken or whole spirits, to face a country that does not take care of them. The Veterans administration is woefully underfunded and mismanaged. Though fully funding and outfitting the VA hospitals in this country would be a good step, why not simply fight for and win universal health care for this nation? Then veterans and their families would have no cause to fear the cost of health care or be unable to find quality help for themselves and their families. What is good for humanity is good for our veterans - now is not the time to give up on the very things that would return the soul to this nation, like health care and living wages. Honor our veterans by showing that they are valued as citizens just as much as they are valued in the warzones.
And while you're considering the service members and veterans today, please consider their families. If you read one thing today, please read these letters from the homefront.
In my personal opinion (which is what this blog is about, after all), the best way to support servicemembers and veterans is to STOP WAR. War is about those with the money putting those without in front of bullets in order to secure more money. Stop War - humanity cannot survive unless we do.
It's not a happy day for Veterans. So I will conclude with, "Thankful Veterans Day" to you and yours.