“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 understand that what we have in this country is precious, and people sacrificed, bled and died for that,” says Kyle Carpenter (@chiksdigscars), the youngest living recipient of the Medal of Honor. As a 20-year-old US Marine deployed to Afghanistan, Kyle used his own body to shield a fellow Marine from a grenade blast. He barely survived and spent the next three years recovering from catastrophic injuries.
On Instagram, he shares his life of resilience with glimpses of marathon running, skydiving and cliff jumping, and he offers a message to his followers:
“You can get hurt or have a life-changing event and still work hard, be positive, enjoy life and most of all, come out better than you ever expected or thought you could.”
Now retired from the military, Kyle is pursuing a degree in International Studies at the University of South Carolina.
“I truly feel like I am living the American dream,” he says.
At precisely 11:11 a.m. each Veterans Day (Nov. 11), the sun’s rays pass through the ellipses of the five Armed Services pillars to form a perfect solar spotlight over a mosaic of The Great Seal of the United States.
The Anthem Veterans Memorial, located in Anthem, Arizona, is a monument dedicated to honoring the service and sacrifice of the United States armed forces. The pillar provides a place of honor and reflection for veterans, their family and friends, and those who want to show their respects to those service men and women who have and continue to courageously serve the United States.
I’m disappointed that tumblr recognized national donut day and national coffee day but chooses not to recognize Veterans Day. I’m not saying you have to support our troops but at least give some recognition where recognition is deserved. These people put their lives on the line to protect strangers they’ve never met. People have died to keep this country free and the fact that tumblr doesn’t even acknowledge them on this day is upsetting.
Finding Adventure After Service with Veteran @dcwriley
For more of Daniel’s adventures, follow @dcwriley on Instagram.
Daniel Riley (@dcwriley) doesn’t feel disabled — at least not when he’s running a marathon, surfing, skydiving, skiing or riding a mountain bike. But Daniel is a double amputee; he lost both legs as a 25-year-old Marine, in a bomb blast in Afghanistan. He had served one tour in Iraq when he volunteered to go to Helmand province to join one of the infantry units that had lost troops as combat intensified.
“The guys in my squad and platoon were professionals,” Daniel says. “I served with some of the hardest and toughest men on the planet. And on the morning of December 16, 2010, that professionalism saved my life.”
In the wake of more than 20 surgeries, sports — and the freedom of being outdoors and active — became a critical part of Daniel’s recovery. “Waking up in a hospital bed and looking down at bandaged bloody stumps, it was easy to say my life was over. However, trying — even when failing miserably — all these sports has led me to do more than I had ever done with legs.”
Now a 30-year-old college student in Colorado, Daniel reflects on coming home from war. “My generation of veterans struggles with being heard. I deployed to combat twice, but that’s not unique. I have many friends who served two, three — and even seven deployments. I sustained life-altering wounds, but again I’m not unique and others have sustained worse. None of this was done for fame and glory, and we would do it all over again. All we ask is that you don’t forget about us.”