I know it sounds crazy, but I struggle with veterans’ day.
Several of my closest friends are vets, some still serving. I watch people post poems or pictures or thank-you’s, and honestly, it gives me a lump of anger in the pit of my stomach. We sit here, comfortably, doing nothing to make their lot better, watching as their lives are squandered, but it’s all good because we stand up at the parade when the old folks pass with the flags.
We have failed our soldiers. They’ve gone off and been great soldiers, while we have sat here and been absolutely wretched citizens. We owe our soldiers an apology. I’ll start.
I’m sorry for not raising a bigger stink when we were getting involved in Iraq. Honestly, I thought it was saber rattling and wouldn’t really happen, but that’s no excuse. I knew it was stupid, and I let myself be shouted down and intimidated.
I’m sorry that you have been deployed 3 and 4 times. I’m sorry that you get panic attacks and have PTSD. I’m sorry that your marriage is on the rocks and for the way the people you love are suffering with you.
I’m sorry that your deployments get longer, and that you’ve been called back even after you thought you were out.
I’m sorry that the recruiter wasn’t forthright with you, and that you aren’t doing what you thought you’d be doing when you signed up.
I’m sorry that I go to movies and watch football and don’t even have to so much as pay higher taxes while you suffer in this way, much less have to share your burden through a draft or rationing.
I’m sorry that I haven’t been strong enough in voicing my opinion, as a citizen that you protect, to assure you are not abused or taken advantage of.