There is a famous Kurt Vonnegut quote, mentioned in the article I’m sharing (link below) that says: “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.”
Vonnegut (a WWII Veteran himself, who was in a Nazi prison camp in Dresden during the Allied bombing of that city) is not throwing veterans over his shoulder, but the pretense of support for veterans that the holiday had come to represent. As conscientious objector (and veteran of the Iraq War) Rory Fanning wrote for the Guardian last year, Armistice Day was a worldwide remembrance of the horrors of WWI, and a plea for peace: an end to all wars. Peace is sacred. War is not.
If we would honor our veterans, instead of parades and concerts thrown to celebrate their valor, let’s fight to change our policies so that we provide care for them when they return: that they may have jobs, support for physical and mental health conditions brought on by the conflict we asked them to fight, and an end to veteran homelessness. And let’s at the least make sure we are not asking them to kill and die for an Empire that only benefits the few at the great expense of the many. It is not cowardly to prefer peace, it is cowardly to throw away lives sacred to God and to us all.
In the meantime, I’d encourage you to share with veterans through good charities like The Wounded Warrior project, among others that actually do work to make the lives of veterans much better than a hasty “thank you for your service” ever will.