On Veterans Day, reflect on why America is worth fighting for

By Jack Kilkenny-Smith and James Di Pane | The Daily Signal

A defining characteristic of our American republic is service and devotion. No group exemplifies these civic virtues better than America’s veterans.

On Friday, this Veterans Day, it’s more important than ever to remember the sacrifice our veterans made for this country.

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On Veterans Day, it’s important that we remember and honor those who have given so much for us. A powerful way to express our gratitude for their sacrifice is to emulate the values we cherish in our veterans community by exercising our rights and participating in the enrichment of our society.

Every Nov. 11, on what was once called Armistice Day, we celebrate Veterans Day. Just over a century ago, when World War I ended, Armistice Day was the hopeful and annual remembrance of those who had served in what was hoped would be “the War to End All Wars.”

Unfortunately, wars have continued to happen, and in 1954, Congress officially changed the holiday to Veterans Day to honor those who had served and defended the United States in those hard years of World War II and the Korean War.

Some confuse the holiday with Memorial Day in late May, but that’s to honor those who paid the ultimate price and died for our nation, while Veterans Day is an opportunity to reflect and to respect and remember the contributions of our veterans who returned home from the war or served in peacetime.

A veteran is so much more than merely an individual who at one point was in the armed services. The values of sacrifice, dignity, and humility are often reflected in their daily lives.

Veterans continue to serve as leaders in their communities, their workplaces, and their governments. Veterans as a group truly are exemplary citizens.

Sadly, the proportion of veterans in society is shrinking, and the likelihood of new people entering the armed services is also shrinking.

The Army is at its smallest since 1940, and in fiscal year 2023 will likely fall short of its annual recruitment goals, as it did in 2022. This problem isn’t limited to the Army, however. It affects the entirety of the armed forces.

That raises the question: Why aren’t young people more motivated to serve?

There are myriad reasons for this, and they paint a sad picture for the country. One simple fact is that less than a quarter of Americans are eligible for service due to increasingly common drug use and obesity, and only 9% of Americansexpress a willingness to serve.

In the past two years, COVID-19 has also taken its toll on the ability to recruit and retain troops. Recruiters could not meet face-to-face with would-be recruits at schools, fairs, and sporting events. Those venues are where recruiters shine because they can show what military life is like in a very personable way.

It’s also undeniable that perceptions of U.S. institutions, the military included, have suffered in recent years. The perception of veterans as forgotten or mistreated, coupled with the notion of rampant physical, mental, or emotional health problems has served to scare young people away from service.

If we wish to remedy these trends, the onus is on us all to honor America’s veterans in a way that dignifies their sacrifice.

Many who haven’t served are often at a loss on how to do this, but there are many ways to show our appreciation. We can show up at parades; donate to, or volunteer with, veterans advocacy groups; and express our gratitude to the veterans in our lives. There’s no quick fix for the long-term issues, but we can do our part in building a culture that honors sacrifice and civic duty.

The disconnect between the perceptions of veterans and the barriers to service for those who are potentially interested in joining the military is a challenge for all of us to solve.

On Veterans Day, it’s important that we remember and honor those who have given so much for us. A powerful way to express our gratitude for their sacrifice is to emulate the values we cherish in our veterans community by exercising our rights and participating in the enrichment of our society.

So, this Veterans Day, let’s reflect on why this country is worth fighting for.

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6 thoughts on “On Veterans Day, reflect on why America is worth fighting for

  1. The way this country is headed, all those who died for America, for freedom, for our way of life will have died in vain. And we all know it.

  2. It’s not as simple as it looks, DBean. 1) For our Afghanistan folly, check out Sarah Chayes’ “The Ides of August.” (https://www.sarahchayes.org/post/the-ides-of-august). You will easily see how our veterans who served there ought to be thanked not for their service, but for letting themselves be used.

    I volunteered because I believed Communism had to be stopped in Vietnam. Three weeks into training, I realized the military was just another business and that probably the only reason we declared war on Japan was because it had attacked both the Army and the Navy at the same time (had it only attacked one, the other would have said, “So, we don’t see a problem.”) Military recruitment is most successful among those young people who realize that they are facing a life of desperation if they don’t join for the post-service benefits. Then they wind up being the cannon fodder when the neoconservatives decide another Third World country needs to be thrown against the wall because we can do it, which was what we tried in Afghanistan.

    Sarah Chayes is quite knowledgable about what happened there.

    • Having been a Marine in Vietnam i totally agree cgregory, It wasn’t as much a lost war in the respect of the troops but a failed political campaign just like
      Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan, and now Ukraine.. different area same bull crap and the only losers are the Military who gave their all.. The current admin and military leadership isn’t worth a soldiers life.

  3. I would defiantly have issues with serving under a demented CIC with border line Alzheimer, and a Chief of Staff Miley who thinks pronouns and inclusion are top notch
    items over tactics and defeating the enemy..it’s no wonder the goat humping taliban beat us out of Afghanistan, with 80 billion worth of hi tech weaponry to boot. plus pallets of cash.

    • The Taliban and their allies didn’t beat us out of AFG. We beat ourselves. Which is exactly as it was supposed to go. The MIC, IC, and our politicians beat us. What should have been a short term punitive mission turned into a nation building exercise. The mission was complete after Tora Bora with AQ and UBL having decentralized into Pakistan and Iran. We need to do away with the all-volunteer military. If it’s worth going to war over it’s worth everyone going.

      • Don’t stop at the politicians, Christopher. The Republicans introduced– and the Democrats quickly copied– a fund-raising gimmick in the House which pours tens of millions into their Congressional Campaign Committee coffers. Here’s the pay schedule:

        House members’ “dues”       $125,000
        and an additional         $75,000
        Subcommittee chairs’ “dues” $150,000
        and raise an additional        $100,000
        Members of the most powerful
        committees “dues”        $200,000
        and raise an additional        $250,000
        Subcommittee chairs of each of the
        power committees and chairs
        of non-power committees
        “dues”          $250,000
        and raise an additional          $250,000
        Chairs of the 5 power committees
        “dues”           $500,000
        and raise an additional $1,000,000
        House Majority Leader, Majority
        Whip and Caucus Chairs’
        individual“dues”           $800,000
        and raise an additional $2,500,000
        The 4 who are the “extended
        leadership” each pay     $450,000
        and raise an additional            $500,000
        The 9 Chief Deputy Whips each pay   $300,000
        and raise an additional             $500,000
        House Speaker pays     $800,000
        and raises an additional $25,000,000

        So, when the CEO of Halliburton wants to get a multibillion contract rehabbing the wells in a ruined Kuwait or Iraq, all he has to do is have his bagmen remind the Congressional recipients of Halliburton’s largesse (after all, corporations are people!), and they will oblige him. When our troops get slaughtered and when we have to bug out, we don’t think of blaming Halliburton, the Carlyle Group or Cromwell and Sullivan. We blame “the politicians.” They laugh all the way to the offshore banks.

        Of course, the reason defense contractors can buy the politicians is that we don’t have good campaign finance regulation.

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