This clownish behavior by Donald Trump reminds me of something I have been thinking for a while. Having spent a few years in the Army during the post Korean War draft days, I have come to notice that military people are not looked on with a great deal of respect. Yes, we seem to have caught on with the phrase, “Thank You for Your Service,” but we have not really given our fighting corps their just desserts. Take a look at how many veterans’ bills have not gotten through congress. What about the treatment that they have been getting at the V.A. All this leads me to this conclusion.
We don’t seem to be in the mood to elect someone who has had military experience. Let’s go back to George H.W. Bush. He was last president who could really say had been in a war zone. He was someone who was the youngest aviator at the time he enlisted right after Pearl Harbor. He served till the end of the war. Since Bush the Elder we have had a succession of presidents who have either been draft dodgers, or too young to have military experience.
The two military men, John McCain and John Kerry were defeated pretty soundly with their credentials as heroes questioned. Now we have a real draft dodger criticizing John McCain for not being a war hero. Is this a symptom of something else? Are we ashamed that we have not served our country as have the soldiers, sailors, marines and air force men and women? Is this why we have pretty much turned our back on the Vietnam era military and now maybe the Iraq and Afghanistan era military?
I am aware that it is hard to fathom what it must be like to fight in a war. That is the majority of our country these days. Those who have lost loved ones have some idea of what it is like to be left at home with a family to take care of. Maybe the faux respect that we give these gallant people at Memorial Day and July 4th are just our way of feeling less guilty.
When the Star Spangled Banner is played at events, do we also get the feeling that we have not contributed enough? It is all very strange to me. We seem to honor the Revolutionary War Heroes, the Civil War dead, the World War I soldiers and the Greatest Generation. Do we have disdain for those who came after and fought in less popular wars and then gave their lives? Yes, there are monuments in Washington D.C. Yet, we are not disposed to grant these men and women who defended our country the kind of treatment that our soldiers got when they came home from World War II. I think about it quite a lot. Send in the Marines, but forget about them if they come back, and don’t care for their families if they don’t.