The Real History Of Veterans Day & Why We Need To Stop Calling Soldiers Heroes
We call them heroes, because they have risked their lives to protect ours.
It was just veterans day in the United States, but while people get the day off from school and work in an acknowledgement of the brave soldiers we call our heroes, there is an unfortunate reality much of America is missing. Patriotism pushes us to salute the men and women of the American military. But there are layers of skepticism and criticism too taboo to bring to light surrounding these servicemen. Nonetheless, it must be talked about. It’s been more than 70 years since we fought a war about freedom, yet we continue to be brainwashed into believing we must worship our troops for the bravely they uphold every single day for wars that have nothing to do with freedom. Veterans Day is, in many ways, a forgotten holiday because we have chosen to celebrate it as an occasion for recognizing “warriors,” even though it originally marked a peace agreement. Initially referred to as Armistice Day, it commemorated. In a country that uses every possible occasion to celebrate its “warriors,” many have forgotten that today’s holiday originally marked a peace agreement. Veterans Day in the United States originally was called Armistice Day and paid tribute to the ceasefire that occurred at 11 a.m. on November 11, 1918, marking the end of the First World War. By 1954, however, Congress officially changed the name of the day to Veterans Day. In 1982, President Ronald Reagan explained why the old label was no longer applicable and had to be changed: ...I may be one of the few people in this room who remembers when Veterans Day was called Armistice Day, commemorating the armistice that ended the First World War on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of the year in 1918. And I might add, I not only remember when it was called that day, I guess we may be the only ones that were on the streets in the wild celebration of the first and actual Armistice Day when it was signed. Armistice Day honored those who gave their lives in “the war to end all wars”— a day of hope that they had not given their lives in vain. But within a few years, and in spite of an impressive effort on the part of the Western democracies to limit arms and to outlaw war, aggressors rearmed and war came again. Ironically, Armistice Day was made a legal holiday in the United States in 1938, just 1 year before a second and more terrible conflagration swept across Europe. And yet today, the American public is entirely eager to keep with the history of celebrating the bravery of soldiers for their physical risk-taking and bravery on foreign battlegrounds. But the only reason for putting such people on a pedestal would be if they were risking their lives for noble and moral causes. However, the reason these soldiers are deployed rests in the hands of American foreign policy’s need for money. Those fueled by wealth and privilege are addicted to war. It yields the desired profits to keep pockets full. Like George Orwell once said: “War against a foreign country only happens when the moneyed classes think they are going to profit from it.” U.S.-induced wars are merely created for the benefit of very few, but at the expense of far too many. War is backed by CIA/IMF/private military war profiteers who secretly fund and support both sides as a means for keeping the wars from ending, and allowing profits to flourish. Former CIA Station Chief John Stockwell explained: “Enemies are necessary for the wheels of the US military machine to turn.” A 2015 article from The Nation exposed a discerning reality: “This year, US Special Operations forces have already deployed to 135 nations, according to Ken McGraw, a spokesman for Special Operations Command (SOCOM). That’s roughly 70 percent of the countries on the planet. Every day, in fact, America’s most elite troops are carrying out missions in 80 to 90 nations, practicing night raids or sometimes conducting them for real, engaging in sniper training or sometimes actually gunning down enemies from afar. As part of a global engagement strategy of endless hush-hush operations conducted on every continent but Antarctica, they have now eclipsed the number and range of special ops missions undertaken at the height of the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.” None of these wars rely on American freedom.
The Iraq conflict, for instance, relies on the interest of empire, the profits of defense contractors, and the guidance of neoconservative theorists.
There is no part that puts soldiers in the line of duty for the benefit of the American people’s freedom. So why are we thanking them? “If a soldier deserves gratitude, so does the litigator who argued key First Amendment cases in court, the legislators who voted for the protection of free speech, and thousands of external agitators who rallied for more speech rights, less censorship and broader access to media,” David Masciotra wrote for Salon. And so, if we must acknowledge Veterans Day, let it be that we do not have current war heroes, aside from those who oppose wars. And instead of thanking current American troops, know that they, too, are merely victims. .
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