Continuing my trend of being thankful for things on their birthday, since today is the Marine Corps birthday, I’ll speak to my thankfulness for their service, and the service of all men and women in uniform. They are willing to put their lives on the line in service to their country and to protect the rest of us.
I have a lot of respect and gratitude towards those willing to put on the uniform. I myself was even going to be in Navy until an injury disqualified me. I have an uncle whose a general in the army and still several friends in the Navy (Go Navy!). The men and women who serve and their willingness to serve is something I support wholeheartedly.
Now, I normally find sentiments such as ”support our troops”, wearing an American flag pin, putting a yellow ribbon on your car to be pretty trite. It’s normally just a form of empty patriotism used for political purposes. It’s supposed to mean something, but it ends up being about pointing at the guy not doing it and calling him unpatriotic. Patriotism that is forced is meaningless. At least in a country that is supposed to be about freedom. I really hate the pledge of allegiance said in schools on a daily basis. The pledge should mean something, repeating it every day because you have too is just brainwashing.
I should also be clear that I also believe that supporting the troops does not in anyway mean a support of war (in general or a particular one), the structure or size of the DoD, or government’s use of the armed forces. There’s a big difference between hating the troops and hating a war. You can also disagree with and condemn actions taken by particular soldiers or their leaders (torture for instance) while still supporting the rest of the troops and the institution itself. They are not synonymous.
In fact, I personally find it MORE patriotic, respectful and supportive of the troops to question the need to send them into harm’s way. There is a reason it’s the Department of Defense and no longer the Department of War. I don’t support the troops just because they wears a uniform, I support the troops because they stand up for the principles of freedom and democracy, because they are willing to defend those rights and their fellow citizens with their lives.