Today is Veteran’s Day, and they deserve all the respect, gratitude, and admiration we can give them. My grandfather was a veteran, as were uncles and cousins, and I respect what they gave of themselves for our country. “Thank you for your service” is probably an overused phrase, and we should definitely do more concrete things every day to fulfill our obligation to those who put their bodies on the line for our country.
There are several Internet memes I’ve seen lately saying our veterans deserve help more than other groups, such as immigrants, refugees, and fast food workers. These are all part of the False Dilemma category of logical fallacies; in reality we don’t take care of anybody well, and I wonder how much that bothers us. The shame of how our government treats veterans lies completely with Congress and the agencies that do such an intentionally poor job of it (as well as us who elect people who perpetuate this injustice). We don’t have to take anything away from another need group to help them, money could be taken from our bloated military budget, which would be appropriate. Surely we could give up an outdated weapon system still in production, or a prototype for a kind of war we have a low chance of fighting. Our military calls people into service and then abandons them, which calls into question the moral justification for recruiting them in the first place. Supporting them for life is the least we can do on top of everything else we’re doing. I call letting veterans sleep on the street abandonment, as well as giving them substandard health care, and denying the gravity of the psychological damage they incurred in combat.
We should honor those who serve our country. Honor should include more than a parade, medals, or a passing kind word, “thank you for your service.” Honor should include more than a hope that a veteran will be treated nicely by in their neighbors to make up for the inattention they get from those who put them in harm’s way.