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While some people see Memorial Day as a day off and a time for their first summer barbecue, let us remember each and every one of the men and women who gave everything they could to preserve our freedoms.
That number represents the approximate number of Americans who gave up everything and never made it home.
We as a nation have been critical of our service men and women at times. Vietnam veterans came home to be spit on and blamed for the issues Washington sent them to face. A Vietnam Memorial for those who went MIA (missing in action) was vandalized in Venice, California twice in the past year. A professor on a plane said he was “trying not to vomit” as a passenger gave up his first class seat for a person in uniform. Acts like these do nothing but disrespect our service men and women.
The economic costs of war have been criticized, and rightly so. A $600 billion budget for the military hurts all taxpayers. There is, however, a much bigger issue than money when it comes to war: suicide. 22 veterans will commit suicide everyday. Mental illnesses such as PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) go untreated for veterans across the United States. We cannot allow our soldiers to be sent to war and do nothing for them when they return, and unfortunately, that is exactly what happens.
The VA hospitals have only provided a false sense of help when it comes to our veterans. Inefficiencies of the facilities have led to stories of people dying while awaiting treatment.
Military members connect well with anti-war candidates. This past election, Libertarian Party nominee Gary Johnson was polling at 27% with active duty members. Ron Paul captured the hearts of military members everywhere during his presidential runs. It should be no surprise our service men and women want a leader who will keep them safe.
Some of Liberty’s greatest allies were members of the military. Larry Sharpe, former vice presidential candidate for the Libertarian Party, was a Marine. Ron Paul, former Republican congressman and presidential candidate for both the GOP and Libertarian Party, was in the Air Force and National Guard. Austin Petersen’s father was in the Armed Forces too.
Not all wars are constitutional. Not all wars are moral. Not all actions have been executed with the best of intentions. But we are blaming the wrong people.
It is easy to blame the men and women wearing the uniform. It is easy to attack the integrity of those who cannot defend their reputation. It is easy to look at the smallest of wrongs and ruin all of the good done.
We must look to our leaders in Washington for accountability. These are the people who determine where and who we fight, not the soldiers. A Marine does not wake up and determine he is going to Syria. He is told where to go by Washington.
Our leaders in Washington should be looking to assure our veterans are taken care of, not create more through useless wars. If we as a nation truly care about our veterans, our number one goal should be to create less of them, then care for those coming home.
So while you are enjoying your day off today, I ask that you take time out of your day to think about what our men and women in service have to go through. I ask that while you may not agree with the war they participated in, you give them respect. I ask that you think about the real causes of war. I ask you look at the real costs of war. Most importantly, I ask you remember that it is a great thing to be an American.
God Bless America and Happy Memorial Day.