When I consider a “holiday” like Veteran’s Day, my first thoughts don’t evoke a sense of gratitude toward elders who fought in “just” wars against fascism, or even those revolutionaries and radicals who have wrested their freedom from the hands of tyrants and labored tirelessly to free themselves and others from oppression. Unfortunately, it seems to me that our military serves more to protect corporate interests and the insular efforts of our monied elite to keep themselves protected from those they steal from, in order to build their protected fortresses and global empires.
I mostly consider the perpetual pogroms of the modern age, and the many unjust and unnecessary imperialist ventures that continue to take the lives of young men and women, to be more for the sake of unfettered capitalism, mass consumption, and the continuance of American cultural hegemony than anything else. So while I am thankful for the amenities of modern life and the efforts of those who risk their lives to protect our “freedom and security,” I am equally disgusted by the blind patriotism and imperialist mindset implicit in simply wishing everyone a happy Veteran’s Day.
I mean no disrespect to our fallen soldiers and their families, nor do I want to trivialize the sacrifice that members of our military make to serve our country. However, I don’t believe that “freedom isn’t free” and I will not accept the idea that violence and war can ever lead to reconciliation and peace. So please forgive me if this seems offensive, off-putting, even treasonous, or a complete betrayal of American sensibilities. Often, I feel those things when I see patriotic memes and statements about our benevolent military.