A Veteran Speaks about His Upcoming Day

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This veteran is not looking forward to Veterans Day:

I’ve considered for many years how to relate my feelings about Veterans Day. In the face of the unabashed quixotry this day inspires, I’ve decided blunt is best. My family’s military history bears the distinction of being on the right side of the only just wars America has ever fought—for the Revolution and for the Confederacy. But during the last three generations the odyssey has taken a turn for the worst. These facts must be stated: My grandfather’s well-intentioned service did not make you safer; my father’s conscription at gunpoint did not make you safer; and my naive service did not make you safer. For this is the truth: Americans were never in danger of being forced to speak German; Communism could never have jumped from the jungles of Vietnam to America; and fighting the chimera terrorism ‘over there’ does not ensure it will never come ‘over here’. No evidence exists to the contrary. But if you hold these shibboleths as a matter of faith, I’ll not infringe on your right. But don’t make me your Golden Calf because you refuse to recognize your self contradictions and uncover the lies you’ve told yourself to justify your choices. On Veterans Day ignore me, pity me, but don’t feed me, and please don’t thank me. I didn’t do this for you. I did it because orders need to be followed: I forever bear the slur veteran because I was incapable of saying no. If you lift a glass to veterans this coming Monday, join me as I propose to my family’s next generation that they refuse to follow in our folly.

J.L., Navy, E-5, HM2 (FMF)

6:33 pm on November 6, 2013