Today we honor our veterans, espcially those who gave their lives for freedom.
I talk a lot about what I perceive to be wrong with this country, and it is easy to misunderstand that as not caring about it. I do. I love this country wholeheartedly. I'm seduced every time by the ideals of the Founding Fathers. Their ideals couldn't be carried out perfectly in their lifetimes...politics being then as now the art of the possible. What I do want to believe is that we can keep making progress towards achieving those ideals, and that's why I speak out about those things that seem to me to get in the way of achieving them.
What has that to do with Veteran's Day? That I honor those who have been willing to put their lives on the line, especially those who lost their lives or were wonded, to give this contry a chance to reach its ideals. And I honor those who served in support capacities as well as on the front lines. My father was captain of a truck company in the South Pacific during World War II and he was in the Army Reserves in logistics units for many years. Oddly the most memorable stories he told were the things that went wrong: they drove the trucks through volcanic sand so often the brakes wore out, and they couldn't get replacements, so they had to learn to be very good at shifting gears... the endless number of ways the cooks learned to serve Spam... waking up to feel the ground shaking in his first earthquake... hearing the sound of the bombs falling.
This Veteran's Day is even more poignant than most because of the Ft. Hood tragedy. Soldiers should never have to fear dying so senselessly in their own country.
What do I most want for our soldiers? That they be paid a living wage. They they have the best equipment possible, especially protective gear. That they get the best possible care when injured. And, most of all, that their leaders only send them to war as the last resort when there is no other option.