The following information about Veterans Day comes from Wikipedia: Veterans Day is an official United States public holiday, observed annually on November 11, that honors military veterans, that is, persons who served in the United States Armed Forces. It coincides with other holidays, including Armistice Day and Remembrance Day, celebrated in other countries that mark the anniversary of the end of World War I; major hostilities of World War I were formally ended at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918, when the Armistice with Germany went into effect. The United States previously observed Armistice Day. The U.S. holiday was renamed Veterans Day in 1954. The foregoing explains Veterans’ Day’s origins. It is certain that we are grateful for the service of our warriors whose ultimate goal is to keep us safe from our external enemies. For example, those who were against the Confederate states were grateful for the success of the Union Army, and Americans are certainly grateful for the Allies’ victories during World War II. Things seem to have changed, however, when the United States started participating in wars started for suspicious reasons.
One of the first wars of this type was the Viet Nam war, which drew quite a bit of opposition in the United States. Another war of dubious origins was the first Gulf War, wherein people broadly believed that the war was fought for Middle Eastern oil. The second Gulf War was also questionable. The other wars since then, Afghanistan, and the wars with drone strikes killing people overseas every day are building up a wall of distrust and disrespect for the United States. These are not popular wars; they are not being fought to “protect Americans.” There are ulterior motives connected with them, or at least, this is what a lot of people believe. Many foreign civilians are getting caught up in the crossfire and killed, and news comes from abroad that our soldiers are behaving badly. All of this paints a different picture of what it means to be a soldier, and by extension, how veterans will be perceived. If soldiers are marching off to war for imperialistic and/or capitalistic motives, it does not translate into warm fuzzy feelings back home. And the sad fact of the matter is that many of our young citizens join the armed services for the purpose of serving their country, and when they do not understand their country’s motives, they may sacrifice life and limb for questionable reasons.
Many African Americans sign up for the military because of the educational and career opportunities that are often available as a result. This is understandable; yet it is no secret that Black people have served in every war since this country’s inception and though this is the case, opportunities for advancement have often been withheld. During World Wars I and II Blacks served overseas and came back home to face Jim Crow and deprivation. Viet Nam war veterans have ended up homeless and forgotten. Today, Blacks who serve in our various skirmishes around the globe stand to come back to the states and be killed by the police. Moreover, there is a war going on here at home. The Donald Trump candidacy has brought the crazies out of the woodwork, and this does not bode well for the future of our country. Bigotry, and unbridled hatred have assumed a level of legitimacy reminiscent of that which could be expected during slavery days. Our veterans are subjected to this chaos.
Ultimately, we understand the need to honor those who have chosen to fight for America, but we must be sure that the fights are RIGHTEOUS ones. It has been considered noble from time immemorial for brave soldiers to protect the rest of us. But when the service is connected with wars of aggression and imperialism, it is questionable as to how much honor our veterans will be due when they return. Hopefully, the day will come when there is no more need to celebrate a Veteran’s Day, because we will have moved beyond a culture of war. But until that time comes, if ever, we gladly salute those veterans among us who have served this country honorably for the right reasons. A luta continua.