Kurt Vonnegut, a World War II veteran, wrote in 1973:
Armistice Day has become Veterans’ Day. Armistice Day was sacred. Veterans’ Day is not. So I will throw Veterans’ Day over my shoulder. Armistice Day I will keep. I don’t want to throw away any sacred things.
Back in the day of the Draft Board, few of us, particularly those of us who were sucked into the Vietnam war, had any respect for conscientious objectors...and that feeling was also mine. There were rare exceptions. I remember one medic who objected to killing people but was in the Army as a medic, without weapon, because he had a personal need to take his chances with the rest of us. But now..... in the day of the all volunteer military .....war is a giant government run industry that sucks in a lot of young people from mostly poor and working class backgrounds. Young people with few skills and little education beyond high school who can't find employment in today's sluggish economy are prime candidates. Each is sold the idea that waging war in places on the other side of the earth from us is an honorable alternative to living peacefully in an unwelcoming economy. We give them a lot of lip service and attitude about how we appreciate their "service" and then bury the ones that die with appropriate ceremony. The ones that are gravely disfigured and those that are mentally affected....well... we do the best we bureaucratically can.
There is this guy who was in the Army and who upon seeing some civilians killed in Iraq had enough... and declared himself a conscientious objector. He has a view that is worth thinking about....particularly on our national "thank you for your service" day. The original meaning of Armistice day has been buried in the US for decades. The original idea was to contemplate the horror of war and be thankful a bloody one was over and consciously fear entering another one.
Incidentally, I remember coming home from my meaningless war and thinking that if I ever have a son and there is another Vietnam I'm sending him to Canada. Eventually a Jimmy Carter will come along and forgive him from running from a draft that kills other young men. But... there is no draft. My son didn't get the go to Canada speech from me. He didn't join the military either. Somebody else's son can go to the perpetual wars ...if he wants to. But I won't be encouraging anybody to go by mouthing the jingoistic platitudes. I won't be telling anybody "thank you for your service" and I sure don't want anybody saying that to me.
http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfre ... than-peace