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Day 177 – They Are Not Wheat for the Reaping, Mr. President.

Day 177 – They Are Not Wheat for the Reaping, Mr. President.

Photograph from DVIDSHUB

Dear Mr. President,

I have been surrounded by members of the military all my life. First those of my parents’ generation – I grew up on or around various bases – and now those of my own. The service members my own age are those on whose loyalty you bank, reliably so, and it is they to whom you do the most damage.

For they are, above all else, loyal. Several have explained it to me, without my asking. “Yeah, he’s a terrible person, but he’s my boss.” I expect this sounds familiar to you. The last part, anyway. You have likely been able to avoid hearing the first half. Power tends to isolate the powerful from criticism. Until now, anyway. You’re finding it difficult to hide from the haters, and it drives you to lash out, childlike and vengeful, even at other heads of state.

But I don’t care about your twitter rants, and neither do millennial vets. You know who does, though? Their parents. Their commanders. The people who were in the military before the Iraq War are better equipped–for better or worse–to question their circumstances. Perhaps the training got tweaked, over the years. Perhaps the dismantling of the self and the replacing it with the group has grown more complete, with time. Or perhaps these people are just bitterly wise with their years.

Whatever it is, though, they are the ones whose distaste should concern you. The vets my age will follow you into the fire, it’s true–and some of them will welcome it, because they were told at 20, 21, 22 that their greatest moments in life were past them now, and they’ll do anything to get that sense of worth, of camaraderie, back. Including following a demagogue into oblivion.

But they are still young. Most do not command. Those who do, see your socially-broadcast apoplexy, your off-the-cuff diplomatic SNAFUs, as cause to question their loyalty. They know better than to state it openly, but their concerns are real. And they–not my stalwart peers–are the ones who give the orders. Your orders.

Or, they are the ones who will not.

Have a care for your dignity, and theirs. They have had time to find other things in life worth valuing, beyond their service. Younger vets and active-duty military may still be struggling with that, but those who tell them what to do don’t relish the idea of throwing their youth onto the pyre of your petulance.

They may not all do it, when you demand.




Day 129 – How Are You Honoring Our Service Members and Veterans, Mr. President?

Day 129 – How Are You Honoring Our Service Members and Veterans, Mr. President?

Photograph by the Chairmen of the Joint Chiefs of Staff

Dear Mr. President,

I am not a part of the military community. The last members of my family to serve were my grandfathers and great uncles in WWII. I have a lovely photo of Uncle Robert standing with his crew next to his Boeing B-17. My paternal grandfather didn’t let childhood polio stop him from serving in the European Theatre. He marched alongside his Army mates with a size 8 boot on one foot, and a size 11 on the other. My own father missed the Vietnam draft, then fathered five daughters, each of whom grew never directly knowing the horrors of a major war.

I think Memorial Day represents many things to different people. It is a time to remember the sacrifices made to keep not just America, but the rest of the world as well, safe from tyranny. I am so thankful that my forebears are not here to witness your decimation of our Constitutionally-given rights.

Let’s take a quick gander at what you’ve done for our veterans and military families.

  1. Federal Hiring Freeze – “You’re amazing people, great people,” you said to the Retired American Warriors PAC. Did you know that veterans make up almost one third of the federal workforce? Not only are retiring military personnel unable to secure federal jobs, those who have managed to hold onto their positions have taken pay cuts. Many active-duty service members have had to leave the service early. How will they provide for themselves? Their families?
  2. You attacked Khizr and Ghazala Khan, Gold Star parents.
  3. You ridiculed former prisoner of war, John McCain. Didn’t you defer your service five times? Isn’t that cowardice?
  4. You basked in the applause for Carryn Owen’s grief, then ducked responsibility for the botched mission. Your indignities know no bounds.
  5. And Veterans Affairs? You promised to fix that. You won by a two-to-one margin promising an overhaul of the VA. You lied. How is leaving 1,000 open positions at the VA unfilled helping our service members’ transition to civilian life? How does it help them survive PTSD? Who will talk them down off the ledge if no one is at the VA to pick up the suicide hotline?

Many people feel that instead of making our country great again, you’ve caused it to hit rock bottom. And they are excited because they can read the writing on the wall.



A person can dream. And write letters. And vote.



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