There are lots of us out here - veterans that is. We appreciate not only well-wishers, but also our service to our nation. Some were drafted, some enlisted and some commissioned, and yet the words duty, honor, and country impressed us enough to fulfill that duty.
We returned and reentered civil society quietly. We joined the American Legion, Disabled Vets, VFW and the Marine Corps League. We became successful citizens.
Yet, we have neglected something - our duty as veterans to stand up and call out when a threat arises or an injustice occurs not only to veterans, but also to the nation. Veterans have that responsibility regardless of political affiliation. We should be that firewall. When character assassins take aim at honorable soldiers who are duty bound, veterans need to lock arms and say, “No, you don’t!” The left wing and the right wing are part of the same eagle.
Politicians love to hang their hats on us. For too long, politicians extoll the armed services and veterans to curry favor and votes. For too long, vet organizations sit quietly, applaud courteously and generally endorse whoever is at the podium.
That needs changing for we know that the smearing of veterans, their service and sacrifice, even their death, is now political fodder.
The man that occupies the White House has taken shots at servicemen and women from flag officers like Kelly, Mattis and McMasters, to now-serving Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, to U.S. Sen. Tammy Duckworth, a retired Army lieutenant colonel and double amputee, to the Gold Star parents of the late Capt. Humayun Khan who was killed in action in Iraq. And veterans sit silently?
Are we to endorse such behavior to one of our own? How long do we sit before we stand? Our sons and daughters are watching us. Are we to fail them? Are we to send them to battle only to return as I did from Vietnam, a pariah? Veterans shouldn’t have to think about how to react to such slander, they need only remember – duty, honor, country.