As will come to know, both my family and my husband’s family have long traditions and histories of service to this country, dating back (on my side) to at least one Linton man packing up his cobbler’s bench to go help win our liberty during the Revolutionary War, to my Catholic German and Irish immigrant relatives donning Union blues shortly after their arrival in Chicago and heading South, Grandfathers in both World Wars, Dads in Korea and Vietnam, brothers in the Cold and Gulf Wars, and continuing on to nieces and nephews confronting and combatting those warped, genocidal Islamic death cults who seek the destruction of this nation and people of differing faith and ideology throughout the world, to this very day.
It makes my heart swell with pride and gratitude that I’m connected to the history of this nation from its founding because of the bravery and sacrifice of every generation of my American family, and seeing nearly everyone’s Facebook pages and blogs lit up with thanks and displaying myriad images of the red, white, and blue always makes me smile.
That said, I am mindful of the current generation of our children, nieces, nephews, and cousins who are coming home, much like our Vietnam parents, aunts, and uncles’ generation did, from a war with unclear purpose, shifting mission (courtesy of a shifty CIC), and dubious results, trying to settle back in to the rhythms and routines of the nation they volunteered to defend to the death. I see their frustration as they finally attend college as young adults in their mid-20’s, having deferred and eschewed the typical post-secondary path by choosing a different and more dangerous one, and being met with the incomprehension, misunderstanding, suspicion, and even disdain of not just peers, but worse, at times the overt hostility of ensconced, aging faculty (and their preferred sycophantic sucklings upon whom they’ve conferred extra letters to replace them once their pensions kick in) who are worshippers of the far left post-Vietnam idolatry of anti-establishment thinking, and are encouragers of shame and self-loathing among students who are guilty of nothing more than the iniquitous crime of being above-average, non-minority kids foolish enough to think that going to college is a good way to learn new things about what interests them, get a degree, and in so doing, be in a better position to get better paying jobs, maybe start a family, and lead productive and secure, satisfying lives.
I see our young veterans – friends, family, and my own students – seething as they are told to sit down and be quiet, because they “don’t know the truth” and are “ignorant” because they joined the military and “drank the kool-aid” of patriotism, honor, courage, and sacrifice. I see their struggle with incredulity at the levels of arrogance and entitlement surrounding them, and the smothering of their smirks and snickers as they pass by a designated “safe space” (seriously… I don’t think they had “safe space” tents in places like Baghdad, Tikrit, Fallujah or Kandahar) and their faces harden and hands lock down at attention position when they are called to the carpet for “microaggressing” and “triggering” the more delicate flowers on campus by virtue of their audacious presumption to even exist, much less walk the same hallways and sit in the same row as the other special snowflakes. I don’t know whether it makes me more heartsick or angry for them, but either way, it challenges me to act, affirmatively, to stand up, speak out, and contribute to the help and healing and understanding our veterans need.
I pass this challenge along to anyone reading this. On this Veterans Day, take a moment to thank our veterans not just in word, but also in deed. Contribute to your favorite local Veteran’s group (VFW, American Legion, IAV, Marine Corps League, etc.) where these men and women go to congregate, socialize, and commiserate, or to a broader charitable organization like Wounded Warrior Project, DAV, Operation Mend, or any group you choose to research and select. I don’t endorse any particular group, I simply encourage you, if you’ve taken time to post your gratitude, to do something that will support these brave people year-round.
May God continue to bless our country and all of our veterans. ??
Kristin is a mother of three, wife of a retired Marine, a lawyer and a college professor – a true Reagan Baby who traded in her ACLU card for the President’s spot in the Federalist society the instant she read the words “penumbras formed by emanations” sometime in the 90’s and became gravely concerned about the future of our nation and its Constitution.