Veteran’s Day Reflections

Let’s be really clear right up front. This statement says it all:


 I saw my first victims of war when I was five years old. They were innocent civilians, who had been bombed with an atomic bomb in Japan. They were missing body parts and were wrapped in gauze like mummies while in NY, USA for reconstructive surgery. People who I knew were hosting them while they were in USA for this happening.

Seeing them, I felt weak as a mere five year old, but fierce at the same time. So I was eager for my first antiwar march, the first one that took place in the USA against the Vietnam War. It was in NYC when I was a teenager.

Indeed the participants of the first antiwar protest against the Vietnam incursion, put together in the mid-1960’s by peaceable Quakers and FOR members after having discussed Gandhi’s Salt March as a model for a nonviolent demonstration, faced government operatives filming them face by face from rooftops as they moved en masse down Broadway to the UN Plaza. (My mother, a pacifist married to a World War II Conscientious Objector, and I, still a child at the time of the march, both were in attendance. When the film crew focused on us, she stood tall, faced the agents with their telephoto lens, glared in disdainful defiance and, simultaneously, threw the corner of her coat over my face. Afterwords, she muttered, “How dare they try to intimidate us!”)

Having grown up with pacifists and having attended a Quaker high school, I didn’t know any soldiers. So I found it very interesting to have as a taxi driver one who had been in the Vietnam war. He was driving me from the train station to my parents’ home at around nine p.m. when I was in my early twenties. So I invited him into the home for a sandwich, a tea, use of the bathroom and to grill him about the war into which he’d been drafted.

Yes, he and I were both in our young twenties and it seemed as important to him to get a lot off of his chest by sharing his experiences as it was to me to learn. Yup, it was just as gruesome as I imagined it would be.

There is no point in my describing his war times observations, especially when you can see them perfectly well for yourself. Here: take a peek into his visions of war: Please do so as to get the full impact: Please dare to know the truth. …

Vietnam War – All Along the Watchtower (U2 Version). – YouTube

Aug 20, 2010 – Uploaded by lub74d8

Try out a fresh look for YouTube. … Cenas dos U.S. Marines Corp detonando os Vietcongs comunistas, em …

His description also involved more than this video shows, It also involved lots of face-to-face murders of peasants caught in crossfire, lots of wounds and deaths amongst combatants, and lots of drug use by troops.

Unless you are drunk or drugged, how else could lots pf people get through such an experience while asked to be like this? How can one dehumanize without desensitization from drugs or alcohol?

And let’s get real. Nobody should dare try to tell me that the reason that the USA has troops in nearly every single country across the world has anything to do with a desire to bring peace,  joy, freedom and democracy to natives.

Greenspan admits Iraq was about oil, as deaths put at 1.2m | World … › World › Iraq

Sep 16, 2007 – … banker has bluntly declared that the Iraq war was ‘largely’ about oil. … Alan Greenspan has been the leading Republican economist for a …

Now a few years later after meeting that veteran, I was asked as part of my job in student teaching for undergraduate education to put together a program for Veteran’s Day for third graders and I knew exactly about what to do. It went like this:

Yes, my main student teaching stint was with third graders, eight year olds in an economically  middle and upper middle class school. I, though, lived in the slums of an inner city and just happened to be in luck that the neighbor in the little cottage-house next to my apartment building was a vet from the Vietnam War. He was also the neighborhood pot dealer, which is the way that he made an income since he was wounded in the war and needed money to live by some means. So he sold marijuana.

Okay, so it goes. I simply brought him a plate of delicious homemade oatmeal cookies still warm from my oven and told him that I needed to interview him about the value of Veteran’s Day for innocent and sensitive eight year olds in a school classroom. I added that I had a cassette recorder and reminded him that we had to talk in uplifting and proud ways rather than scare or alarm the youngsters.

It worked like a charm. It was a very inspirational interview such that the next day, I played the half hour long tape to the children. They loved it and I had given them each crayons and papers at their desk to illustrate the images that the vet was sharing in the audio tape.

Their art was impressive. It contained all of this idealism about war, service to one’s country and so on. Yes, the pictures were beautiful about the glories of war and helping othersoverseas with guns, bombs, napalm, helicopters and so on.

Why, they made the soldiers look like superheros and nothing like the reals aspects of war were shown in their imagery.

Since that time that I did the third grade program, I never gave another Veteran’s Day program. I would refuse to do so as a matter of principle.

Since that day, I have met three other war vets. One acted so stupid during his being drafted in the Vietnam War that he was left peeling potatoes on a military base in the USA since he refused in his mind to kill others abroad. (He is a chemical engineer.) Another cozied up to a general in the USA and became his personal driver in the USA. So he also avoided the war theater, as did the general.

A third went stark crazy after events that he experienced in Afghanistan where he was involved in some very inhumane actions. There is no sense in going into the personal details here as they are too awful to share.

Let’s, instead, suffice it to say that Veteran’s Day is my second least favorite USA holiday — second to Christopher Columbus Day since I hate butchery in any form and regardless of whom are the victims or the assailants. (Columbus was a monster supreme.)

So let all of the Vet Day parades, speeches and accolades go on since I can’t stop them. Yet I have a different view of the whole affair today. It is this:

Now, I know that lots of these soldier-types think that they are serving their country in beneficial ways. Far be it for me to disturb their idealism any more than I would with someone, who believes in the views of some outlandish religion that serves his need to find comfort and love of the world through one or more deities.

In that vein, my attitude is that if you can’t bring goodness — at least do no harm. So I accept that others have views vastly different than mine.

However, no one should dare try to take away my tragic view of Vet Day. If they try to do so, I’ll shove this view in his face:

Inline image 3

Yes, war is hell and I refuse to celebrate warriors! I refuse to do so when my tax dollars and the federal deficit (based on borrowed money from most notably China) is responsible for the USA having soldiers in all countries across the world except for around twenty-one out of something like 194.

Enough and more than enough! We need to stop celebrating butchery. Nope, I’ve had enough of Vet’s Day and celebration of murderers. Apparently, so has she! ..


If you think that this child isn’t happy about vets and war, I bet that this guy isn’t so either today, Vet’s Day. So they can join me in detestation if they want to do so.


Let’s tuck this bloody holiday into the bins of history. No more Vet Day! No more celebration, directly or indirectly, of carnage and ruin every which way that one looks!

Sally Dugman is a writer from MA, USA.

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