I recently had a discussion regarding the ongoing attacks and dishonoring of Veterans monuments with someone who has a leadership position in a veterans organization here in Missouri. Shockingly, they would say nothing about local government attempts (like here in Kansas City and Mayor Sly James, or in St. Louis and Mayor Lyda Krewson) to erase or censor veterans contributions to our communities. Rather, they had the position that they only served present day veterans, and would rather not discuss veterans who served in years prior. In fact, they would simply state: You can’t live in the past.
While I understand that standing for our men and women who served during our nation’s bloody conflicts can be difficult at times – like during Vietnam when many cursed our soldiers, or even today when veterans who have returned home might not receive the help they deserve – it should go without saying that picking and choosing which of our heroes to honor based on political convenience or social fashion is a TRAGIC disservice to those who gave everything.
As such, it’s really mind-boggling, and more than a little ironic that those who are dedicated to serving and supporting our veterans and their brothers and sisters in the armed forces, are instead turning their backs on our American veterans. As Veterans monuments are pulled down by unruly mobs, boxed away, and in some cases destroyed, I can’t help but wonder: what veterans monuments or memorials 10 or 20 years down the road will need to go? With our World War 2 veterans quickly passing away, and few left to defend their honor and service, will people someday decide these statues honoring their service need to disappear as well?
For those men and women who served and who have passed away, learning about their profound struggle and hardships is NOT living in the past. It’s remembering for the future. They can no longer speak of what they did, or why they did it. It’s up to us to carry on their stories and to try to continue to bring honor to the thousands who loved God, their families and their communities, and sometimes paid for that love in blood.
What can you do? Speak up, write letters to the editor or to local governments, and talk with friends and neighbors! The lifestyle we enjoy and the many beautiful communities we have today are due to the efforts of people not so different from us who served during the American Revolution, Civil War (Confederate and Federal), World War 1, World War 2, Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan and many others. Have stories of families who served? Do you have any thoughts or ideas on how we can take part in helping veterans, supporting veterans or defending veterans in our community? Let us know!