Veterans Day remembrance

Chuck Roberts

Veterans Day brings a time of reflection to most veterans. Today, American society is much more supportive of veterans than during the Vietnam era. Vietnam veterans are now eligible for honor flights to Washington, DC. When participating in an honor flight, a Vietnam veteran is taken to an airport at about 5 a.m., boards a flight to Washington, DC, tours the Capitol’s veterans memorials, and returns in the evening to a large crowd welcoming the veteran back home. Attending an honor flight is much appreciated by veterans and is an everlasting memory.

Many chapters of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) participate as partners in the United States Department of Defense’s Program to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War. The DAR provides a certificate and lapel pin to Vietnam Era veterans: those serving on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces between Nov. 1, 1955, and May 15, 1975, regardless of location.

The Veterans Administration has expanded medical coverage for veterans, including coverage for the Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics (PACT) Act, and for immediate care outside of veterans’ medical facilities for non-life-threatening injuries that require a quick response, such as administering stitches. 

Veterans Day, observed on Nov. 11, was originally called Armistice Day and was established at the end of World War I, which was called the “war to end all wars.” Since then, there have been several wars, the most contentious being the Vietnam War, especially for many veterans of that era. During that war, members of the military were often called warmongers, faced protests, and listened to an American celebrity in Hanoi trash those serving. After the war, the sitting president granted clemency to draft dodgers who fled to other countries to avoid military service (an illegal act). This made many of those who served feel as if their sacrifices were for naught. The country has been divided ever since. Some support the veterans; others do not.

In many colleges in the past, the Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) was an avenue to becoming an officer in the military. Becoming a military officer is another career path, comparable to other professions such as becoming an engineer, scientist, teacher, doctor or lawyer. ROTC programs were discontinued at many Ivy League universities because of anti-war sentiment and the past military policy of banning homosexuals, lesbians and those with gender dysphoria, from serving in the military. During the past administration, gender dysphoria was considered a mental illness. According to the military, a person with a mental illness cannot utilize weapons, which is a necessary part of military training. During the current administration, this policy was abolished, and it was declared that those with gender dysphoria do not have a mental illness and can serve. In 2022, the American Psychiatric Association revised its Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, which no longer lists being transgender as a mental disorder.

The political machinations between administrations have often resulted in wide-ranging changes to the military that are not mission-related. Since the military takes orders from civilian leaders, it is easy for those leaders to impose their ideology on service members. Many veterans are disheartened by the imposition of woke ideology on the military, resulting in fewer people entering the military and becoming future veterans.

This Veterans Day deserves a reflection and appreciation for those who have served in the military. Veterans appreciate the country’s gratitude for the sacrifices they have made on behalf of the country. Let’s honor and support our veterans on Veterans Day and throughout the year, and let’s keep non-mission-related ideology out of the military.