Few people took notice for the reason we had a three day weekend
and even fewer still did anything Friday relating to the holiday which gave us
this weekend. This past Friday the nation, or at least some of it, “celebrated”
Veterans Day. I put the word celebrated in quotations because to me is not a
celebration, but rather an honoring, a recognition of those who have served and
are currently serving in the United States Armed Forces. I was honestly
surprised this weekend to find not a single status with relation to Veterans
Day. All day it was nothing but statuses upon statuses about how Friday was
11/11/11. I found it highly offensive that THAT was worthy of more excitement
than at least acknowledging those who serve.
People always ask me “Andrew, why do you care so much about
the military when you’re Buddhist?” It is true that find the thought of killing
and violence reprehensible, but if there is one thing I have learned from
studying the Constitution and learning the history of our country, it is the
idea of civic virtue. Civic virtue is the idea that you put your personal self
behind the overall well-being of the country. It is this principle that makes
me say “I am an American first and a religious man second.” This however was
not always so. I too did not really pay much attention to politics or military
news until our 8th grade trip to Washington D.C.. The trip to Arlington
National Cemetery impacted me in a profound way. Seeing row after row of white tombstones as far as the eye can see almost made me cry. And in the newest section of the cemetery I saw all of the new graves which had been laid out for those who had died not a week before. No one asked them to put their lives on the line, but they did so and did their jobs well. They died so that we may live.
Many people who I surround myself with view the military as
evil establishment who overjoys in invading a country. They view military personnel and the actions they take as one in the same. I will be the first to say that I have not agreed with military policy since WWII. I do not support any war; I support the men and woman fighting it. Another big criticism regarding the military is the amount of funding that goes into the DOD (Department of Defense) budget. The military must pay for the salaries of almost 3 million people along with the equipment that they use to protect us. Now I am not naive and do recognize that there is waste in military expenditures (ie the past 10 years in the Middle East) and that they cannot be immune from the current
economic realities of this nation. Now I will go off on a tangent and say what I
would change if I could, based upon the information I have to date. If I could I
would close all US military bases in foreign countries, restructure the
branches to provide for the common “Defense” and not offense, and transfer the
money the modernization and continued procurement of equipment. But under the current mentality of government it is 100 % impossible.
In honor of those in the United States Army, United States Navy, United States Air Force, United States Coast Guard, and United States Marine Corps.