“I've seen a ton on the facebooks about "thanking veterans for their service." As a veteran let me just be very straightforward and honest with you. We didn't "serve our country"; we don't actually serve our brothers/sisters or our neighbors. We serve the interests of Capital. We never risked our lives or spent months on deployment away from our family and friends so they can have this abstract concept called "freedom". We served big oil; big coal; Coca-Cola; Kellogg, Brown, and Root and all the other big Capital interests who don't know a fucking thing about sacrifice. These people will never have to deal with the loss of a loved one or the physical and/or psychological scars that those who "serve", and their families, have to deal with for the rest of their lives. The most patriotic thing someone can do is to tell truth to power and dedicate yourself to building power to overthrow these sociopathic assholes. I served with some of the most real and genuine people I've ever met. You'll never see solidarity like the kind of solidarity you experience when your life depends on the person next to you. But most of us didn't join for that; we joined because we were fucking poor and didn't have many other options.”
“I'm an Iraq war veteran, though I very rarely tell people that. Partly because I never kicked in any doors or anything - I had about the cushiest of war zone duties possible, although being in Kirkuk in 2006-2007 meant lots of random mo[r]tar/recycled rocket attacks and stuff. But the other reason I never tell anyone about it is the reaction, like everything about me being there was unambiguously positive.
Which brings me back to the idea of mandatory reverence around the flag, Memorial Day, July 4, etc. . . [I]t makes me angry when people are just unable to have two thoughts in their head at once - that we should be respectful of those who do the things no one else really wants to do, like kill people, and that sometimes, just maybe, the stuff we ask them to do is terrible...
Maybe it's that I grew up in a world run by Baby Boomers (I'm 30), who seem especially incapable of understanding nuance of any sort, but it seems that most people who "fly the flag" and "support the troops" subscribe to this uncompromising approach to patriotism. I don't know how exactly to fold some self-reflection into these holidays, but I think it would sure help those of us who see a lot more gray in the things we've done.”
—Sullivan Reader, discussing Memorial Day. More like it here.