Wednesday, November 11, 2015

What is a Veteran

I have the utmost respect for all who served their country in military positions and especially for those who faced death for the cause of liberty. I honor combat veterans and America's fallen heroes. However, up until now, I assumed that on Veterans' Day we celebrate the lives and great deeds of all the patriots who fought for our country. Yet yesterday, my daughter asked me what a veteran is, and today I looked it up. I found an insidious link between the term "veteran" and the idea of somebody exclusively employed by the government at public expense to make war. And a "war veteran" is somebody employed by any branch of the government military to make war on other countries on foreign soil. That would leave George Washington and Jean Laffite entirely out of the running for "war veteran".

Here is what they have to say:

    A military veteran is any person who served for Any length of time in Any military service branch.

    A war veteran is any GI (Government Issue) ordered to foreign soil or waters to participate in direct or support activity against an enemy.  

But is that true? If you defend your own country on American soil not wearing a uniform and not deployed by any branch of the service or ordered to do so by the government, are you not a veteran?

If that is true, then Veterans' Day is not a holiday celebrating America's patriots, but one glorifying the government's power to use public funds to deploy military overseas.


  1. These are some interesting questions, Aya. There were certain wars that America had to fight for our survival, but the recent ones do not seem to have been this way.

    1. Yes, war is necessary sometimes, Julia, and I honor those who fought. But I thought it was what they did that mattered and not the fact that they were deployed by the government. And it seems odd that it has to be on foreign soil for someone to be considered a war veteran.

  2. I do support those who served, but I also wish we could be participating in less wars.