I Hate Veteran's Day
by James Glaser
November 11, 2014
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First it is the Marine Corps Birthday on November 10th and then Veterans Day the day after. They say Veterans Day is a day America honors its veterans. With 22 veterans a day and over 8,000 a year committing suicide, that honor thing is not working very well.

I had my wood work for sale at a craft/antique festival in town this week, and a woman came up and asked if I was a veteran. I told her yes, I was in the Marine Corps. She then shook my hand and thanked me for my service. I said thanks, but I wanted to say much more.

I could have asked what exactly she was thanking me for. Was she thanking me for helping to kill millions of Vietnamese? Maybe she thought I helped spray the country with millions of gallons of chemical weapons like Agent Orange or Agent Blue, or Agent White or any of the others we tried out on that country.

Yes, it is like this every Veteran's Day. I get worked up. I was in Vietnam in 1968 and 69. In those 2 years 28,679 American troops were killed 16,899 in 68 and 11,780 in 1969. Here is how the "American Conservative" writes about that war, and they are not known for being Peaceniks.


The numbers are numbing. According to study by Harvard Medical School and the University of Washington, there were 3.8 million violent war deaths, of which two million were civilian, with similar estimates reached by the Vietnamese government and Robert McNamara himself. Up to 500,000 Vietnamese women turned to sex work. 14,000 South Vietnamese civilians were killed, mostly by U.S. firepower, during the Tet Offensive. 70 million liters of herbicidal agents, notably Agent Orange, were dumped across the countryside. ("Only you can prevent forests" was the travestied Smokey the Bear slogan.) 3.4 million combat sorties were launched by the U.S. and South Vietnam between 1965 and 1972. The amount of ammunition fired per soldier was 26 times higher than in World War II. In the northernmost province of South Vietnam, Quang Tri, only 11 out of 35,000 villages were not damaged by bombing or artillery. A survey found that 96 percent of Marine Corps second lieutenants said they would torture prisoners to obtain information.

I don't care what others say about justification for "my war." Vietnam never attacked us. They never wanted to attack us, and they never had the means with which they could attack us. Kind of like Iraq and Afghanistan, eh?

So, Veterans Day seems to bring it all back every year. I wish I could be one of those vets who can just blow off the killings and the blood and gore, but for me, the memories of dead mothers holding their dead child flash into my mind like it was just last week, and seeing a fellow Marine with his intestines coming out of what is left of his stomach is something I just don't know how to forget.

Maybe it would be different if we had been the defender or if the Vietnamese had bombed California. Maybe it would have been different if Vietnam were not a dirt poor third world country filled with dirt poor rice farmers who pumped water into their paddies with leg power like they had been doing for hundreds of years. And you know, maybe it would have been different if we were there to help the country instead of chemically destroying their forests, farmland and their future generations.

I have seen the guys at VFW Post bars bragging how they won the war when they were there, but most of the war vets kept quiet, and so many let it eat at them to the point that they couldn't take it anymore. The following comes from a study done by the Veterans Administration in 2012, http://www.va.gov/opa/docs/Suicide-Data-Report-2012-final.pdf

-- Some 8,000 veterans are thought to die by suicide each year, a toll of about 22 per day, according to a 2012 VA study. The VA acknowledged the numbers might be significantly underestimated because they're based on incomplete data from 21 states, not including Texas or California. Even so, the data documents an increase of nearly 11 percent between 2007 and 2010, the most recent year of data in the study.

Yes, we have a national holiday every year where America pretends to honor its veterans, but in truth it is the only day of the year they do any honoring, and to me it is just lip service. Thousands of veterans are killing themselves every year, and we don't even care enough to figure out how many. Companies donate money to have a huge concert in Washington DC so politicians can pretend they honor vets, but the over one hundred thousand homeless veterans will never hear or see that concert, and what about the vets who kill themselves that day or the next or the next or the next and on and on and on.

Yes, I hate Veterans Day. I hate the memories it brings back, and I hate the phony thank you's, and I hate the fact that every year we make new war veterans because America thrives on its over 70 year long war-time economy that employs millions and makes rich Americans richer.

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