Why Do Veterans Deserve Our Respect?


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“I was in the military to protect YOU !!” This is something I always hear people yelling who demand respect.  I wish they would SHUT UP.

NO ONE went into the military to protect ME. They never even knew I was alive.

I never asked anyone to go into the military to protect “me”. I have protected “me” for a long, long time and don’t appreciate bullies taking credit for it.

Half of today’s bullies join the military to escape dead-end lives. The military offers their way to get out of nowhere. Some join because it’s “cool”. They want to be like Rambo.

Today, it is very lucrative to join the military. There are enormous sign-on incentives. Each tour of “duty” (6 months) pays about $20,000. Bonus “packages” include lifelong medical, free college, wonderful mortgage advantages, and more.

Forty-thousand dollars a year, great medical plan (for life) and help with college and mortgage… Sounds like a GOOD JOB taken by CHOICE.

Today, NO ONE HAS TO go into the military. So don’t insist you are doing it for ME. You are doing it for YOU. BUT I AM PAYING FOR ALL YOUR LIFELONG EXPENSES.

Therefore, I FINANCIALLY SUPPORT YOU. And I don’t have a “choice” about that. (Even though YOU claim YOU went into the military to protect my “rights”.)

Demanding respect does not make you a better patriot than me.

The last REAL reason to be in the military was WW2.

The last REAL “obligation” to go to war was the Vietnam War. (Draftees had no choice.)

Yet I NEVER heard these men demand, “I did it for YOU!” and they have more reason demand this.

And what about the patriots that tried to get into the military but were turned down? Do you think you’re entitled to anything more than they? Do you think you have altered everyone’s life so much that it mattered you were born?

Hollywood and military recruiters have made war “cool”. They romance and entice bored, troubled or ignorant young men to join the military. Once in, it proves to be hard work or boring or frightening and even possibly a “mistake” depending on your duty or expectations. The cloak of “coolness” vaporizes quickly. It isn’t as exciting or promising as it appeared to be. It could even be a regret.

Typically, people who are disappointed in their choice or actions project their blame and anger toward others. Our DNA seems to prevent us from accepting we were duped or ignorant to our daydreams. (In this case, “I did it for you!” is an accusation.)

Men of World War 2 would rarely talk about it. (And few are still living.) If you could “pry” your way into their past you would find they NEVER found it “cool”. In fact, they were usually “ashamed” for what they had no CHOICE to do. They didn’t have the CHOICE to join the military.

They would chat with people who LISTENED and wanted to UNDERSTAND. These veterans didn’t like to be a curiosity to questions like, “What was it like?” or “Did you have to kill people?” These Veterans did TERRIBLE things they would NEVER CHOOSE to do. (It was the same with the Veterans of the Korean and Vietnam wars.)

Today’s “young” (and older) adults think opposite. WAR, DEATH, MURDER and BULLYING is COOL. The faster and greater it happens, the COOLER it is! They romanticize and fanaticize wars of the past. The way people view war today is — one goes to war to come back a “hero”.

If you could meet the victims of Nazi Germany and actually see, in person, the “serial numbers” scribbled permanently on their wrists, your perspective of REAL war (that people didn’t have a CHOICE to sign up for) would be greatly jarred.

Veterans of real war seldom “open up” to people who think they already know everything. (What’s the point?) People may learn every written detail about a war — but unless you were there and heard it and smelled it and sh*t your pants in it, you have no understanding of what it was like.

Their stories made history come to life  and worth listening to. The only thing they demanded from others is mutual respect. They were grateful if you had a genuine interest to listen to them and hear them. (Isn’t that what we all want?) They would all say the same thing: they were more ashamed of what they HAD to do than proud. (But they had to do their duty.)

Not all veterans are like the bullies I described at the beginning of this writing. The Bully veterans Demand respect. The Bully veterans seem to think I Owe them something. The truth is, if those bullies went into combat to protect lil’ ol’ me, then they were fighting for My rights too. Yet, they feel they have special rights to demand respect above everyone else. I was entitled to my rights the moment I was born in America. I never traded them away. No one, not even my own countryman, has the right to reduce them.

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  • James Freedlyn

    I used to be bullied in school. Now I know what happened to him.