America’s (Dis) Regard for its Soldiers and Veterans

We have just celebrated Veterans Day…..a day when we hold our veterans in high regard……think about that statement for a moment……

We thank them for their service…..but do Americans really care?  Do we as a society really give a sh*t?  My thought is that we do or say these things because it is expected of us….not because we really care…..

I believe that if we had a shared experience our concern would be more real… real can the concern be when about 1% of the country actually experiences military service and the horrors of war?

I recently read an article on this subject in the American Conservative (yes, the old professor finds some worth in a conservative publication)…….

The American people and their leaders have been swooning for years over the boys and girls in uniform. Our national crush on the armed forces reflects in part symptoms of lingering collective post-9/11 traumatic stress syndrome. The al Qaeda attacks represented the deadliest terrorist strike in American history, and that incongruous bolt of death and destruction from the blue skies of an otherwise lovely fall day compounded our terror. Our armed forces rushed to protect us after the attack and then quickly visited righteous retribution on the perpetrators and their Taliban allies in Afghanistan.

In addition to our gratitude for the military’s protection after 9/11, the public’s affection for our military is reinforced by the fact that we now regard it as one of the few truly functional sectors of our society. In a recent Gallup poll, 73 percent of respondents demonstrated confidence in the armed forces, compared with only 41 percent for organized religion, 18 percent for big business, and 9 percent for Congress. Another polling organization finds that 78 percent of the public holds our soldiers’ contributions in high regard, above the share that feels the same of teachers (72 percent), doctors (66 percent), and even scientists (65 percent). Not surprisingly, Pew detects a general, if diffuse, sense of gratitude among the 91 percent of respondents who declare they are “proud” of the military.

Ask yourself if you regard for the soldiers and veterans is genuine or is just something that is expected of you…..


13 thoughts on “America’s (Dis) Regard for its Soldiers and Veterans

  1. I read the article from your link, and as usual I will skim a bit, as most of us do, but then I found myself slowing to a crawl in trying to understand the actual reason the author was perceiving that current American perception of the military was “on the surface”. From what I could gather is that the author was assigning the reason to a public sub-surface apathy toward the military is because of the goals, assignments, missions our public figures bestow on them.. and then the military paying the price for our boondoggles. While I will tend to agree with most, if not all, what he said with his references (although I think the oft quoted Alexis de Tocqueville about America is a great 18th century interpretation in general), I couldn’t quite hit on his reason(s) American seems to be falling short on military appreciation.

    I personally see no problem at all in people being generally appreciative in the day-to-day treatment of vets.. buying them a drink, giving up their seats, giving discounts, the “thank-you-for-your-service” being appreciated by many vets… all seems WAY far better than they treated me when I was in uniform traveling around in the 70’s. My frame of reference aside, other than misguided decisions in using the military, not sure I understood what the author was getting at.

    Here’s the point.. and being a vet I am ok with this (although no one ever shot at my ass.. so I suppose I can’t truly make this point from experience)… but I never considered myself some “god” to be worshipped by the citizenry I helped to defend in my own way. I prefer to think is that what I defended was a way of life and that included the right to choose our own road to travel. If our country were deeply in need of defending, similar to World War II, I have no question people would sign up for service in droves. All these whacked “police actions” around the world… honestly, the military is there to defend “our interests” which in turn defends our way of life. It’s not a fight for survival.. and it bugs me a bit when folks say “our military is fighting for our freedoms all over the world”. But just because the reason for “fighting” is not directly about our nation’s survival does not mean a soldier giving his life means anything less than having made the decision to serve as a personal choice for whatever reason, and realizing he might be put in harm’s way, yet he knows he will be trained and equipped like no military fighting person has ever been in the history of the world in order to help assure his survivability. No one enlists in the military to die fighting. There is no glory in death… or death with honor. Dead is dead and that’s the ultimate tragedy. I served to allow others to make their own choices. Serving in the military was on me just as being a butcher, baker, or candlestick maker is on them. Likely if the enemy were on our shores those people would enlist.. until then, I also serve.

    1. I served and do not want any pats for it…I did what I thought was right and needs no celebration…I would go again if my mates were still alive from Vietnam….they are not so would I do it again….good question…..chuq

  2. I know a lot of people only care on commemorative days, but GQ mag. making Kaepernick “Citizen of the Year” shows the disgrace of it all!!

  3. Maybe conscription is the only answer to making sure that everyone feels that same pain?
    Given how many wars you are engaged in, it might be the logical conclusion.
    Best wishes, Pete.

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