In a Star Tribune op-ed today, Elk River social studies teacher and Iraq war veteran Scott Glew asks some pretty good questions worth discussing today.
He’s all about honoring veterans on this day — Veterans Day — but he highlights a truism — sacrifice is not shared in the United States. More than six of every 10 Americans couldn’t even be inconvenienced enough to vote last week, for instance.
“If we are truly thankful for the democracy we ask our veterans to protect, we sure don’t treat it very well,” he writes.
While soldiers and their families endure repeated deployments, most people maintain business as usual, paying more attention to sports and reality television than to the missions we have sent our military on.
While the costs of war continue to skyrocket, we refuse to accept increased taxes or reduced government services. In other words, shared sacrifice is an idea that is lost on us. And since so few actually have skin in the game, our leaders are allowed to push forward through another decade of perpetual war with little accountability and no end in sight.
Most of us want to do more, he asserts.
So I challenge my fellow citizens this Veterans Day: Will we go beyond patting a veteran on the back and saying “thanks” or posting another soldier-family reunion video on Facebook? Will we take our rights and responsibilities as citizens more seriously and set a better example for the next generation? Will we commit to sacrificing a little bit of ourselves to make the world a better place?
Related: A Marine’s Parents’ Story: Their Memories That You Should Hear (NPR).