Thoughts on Veterans Day 2002

by James Glaser
November 12, 2002

On the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month of 1918 the Armistice was signed to end the hostilities of the First World War. That was the War to End All Wars. Well they were wrong on that, but it was a nice thought.

In 1954 Congress and President Dwight D. Eisenhower passed and signed into law, that November 11th would become Veterans Day. Today, America has 26.4 million veterans.

My first Veterans Day was Nov.11th, 1969. To be honest I got so loaded I can't tell you about it at all. I was a few months home from Vietnam and Vietnam Veterans were looked down on by most people including the veterans of other wars. I just stayed to myself. For the next several Veterans Days, other Vietnam Vets would come over and we would wallow in self pity about all the horrors of war, we would smoke joints until we didn't care any more. That worked for a few years, but not really.

It got so I didn't want to see those other guys because after a day devoted to thinking about everything that happened over there, I would be sick. It got to the point that for weeks before and weeks after November 11th, I was a mess.

The Vietnam War didn't end until 1975 and right at the end 38 Marines were killed in the rescue of 39 seaman from the US Merchant ship Mayaquez.

It was a long time later that I learned that our Government in Washington had lied to all Americans about the Gulf of Tonkin incident that gave the Government a reason to wage war in Vietnam and over 58,000 thousand young Americans died so those in Washington could have a taste of power. Much later I learned that some of those Marines in that last rescue operation were left to die on some foreign island because those in Washington didn't want that action to escalate. Those Marines were last heard of, firing their weapons as the American ships pulled out. That is the same thing we did to our prisoners of war.

The American Government knew that there were hundreds more live prisoners than came home, but when North Vietnam only sent back some, Washington didn't give a damn for those other guys, they just weren't worth the trouble it would take to fight for them.

Now every Veterans day I think about how terrible those people that run our government in Washington are. It really doesn't matter if they are Veterans or not, they still vote for War. America is into killing and war like no other nation in history and that makes me feel so very sad. 65 times since World War 2, America has been in military action against another nation.

In 1964. In his Nobel Prize Speech Martin Luther King said, "I believe that what self-centered men have torn down, men other-centered can buildup. I still believe that one day mankind will bow before the alters of God and be crowned triumphant over war and bloodshed and nonviolent redemptive goodwill proclaimed the rule of the land. And the lion and the lamb shall lie down together and every man shall sit under his own vine and fig tree, and none shall be afraid."

That hasn't happened yet and those in Washington still proclaim that they believe in God and talk about "Just Wars." Like those in the past, those in Washington still lie to the American people and more Americans will become Veterans so that those who want power can get more.

Now on Veterans Day I walk in the woods and say a prayer for all of those Vets that are having a hard time. I pray for the thousands of Veterans all over this land in Hospitals, Old Soldier Homes, and Nursing Homes that never got to come home. Veterans, that advances in medical science kept alive, Veterans that were so severely wounded, that the rest of society could not handle looking at them out in public, and those veterans that have to be so medicated because of battle trama that they can not function well enough to live on their own.

The price of glory and power for those in Washington is so much higher than they could ever know..

BACK to the Politics Columns.