Letter: Liberals don’t hate soldiers
Roland McLean’s column, “Why Memorial Day really matters,” shows that Americans see their military from two viewpoints: those who have served and those who have not. The incident of the insult launched upon him last year on Memorial Day is obviously an extreme viewpoint of someone who has not served and cannot relate to those who have. No one who has risked their life in Vietnam, Korea or elsewhere is deserving of that kind of treatment.
However, this isolated snide remark is not indication that “there still exists a liberal core who do not respect those who have served.” Liberals do not hate soldiers, and those whom Mr. McLean quotes as having “obvious hatred of those who have served” have often expressed their support of military personnel. What they oppose is the militant culture of American intervention policy that has callously sent these brave men and women into questionable battles.
Working with many liberals and radicals during the 2000s to protest the Iraqi occupation, I encountered no one who expressed malice for individual soldiers. One of our largest demonstrations was held in Bush’s adopted town Crawford, Texas. It was called Camp Casey, in honor of a soldier killed in the line of duty whose mother, Cindy Sheehan, held vigil outside President Bush’s estate. Many Vietnam and Iraqi War veterans were present to support her and there was an air of enormous respect for those who served. Often, we carried signs reading, “Support Our Troops – Bring Them Home.”
On Memorial Day, we do best to remember we are a changed country since the Vietnam War. We remember those we have lost – Charles Keating, Casey Sheehan and any we have known or would have liked to have known better – and we remember we are a nation divided. Those who have served, and those who have not. All other perspectives are grounded in our hopes we can find a healing for our wounds and answers that work.
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