Thank you to all the men and women who have served the United States in uniform, especially my cousins and grandfather who have served or are serving in the U.S. Air Force, Army, and Navy. In the past I've expressed ambivalence toward this holiday clumsily; I'm certainly thankful for and immensely proud of the men and women who put their lives on the line, and policy-wise, I believe the U.S. has stepped up admirably to intervene for humanitarian reasons when no one else dared. My problem has always been that on these days it feels like we're "perpetuating war by exalting its sacrifices," which is the message of this article from Reason.
Writing about Army Master Sgt. Wheeler, the first American to die in combat in Iraq since 2011, the article states: "Much will be said in the coming days of Wheeler's heroism and courage in face of grave danger. That he risked his life to save a large group of prisoners held by Islamic State barbarians is obvious. But the point is he should not have been anywhere near Hawijah, Iraq. He should have been at home in the United States, along with the rest of his colleagues. Instead he was in a U.S.-created hellhole serving the imperial ends of hack American politicians and generals. Some people call that 'serving his country." Jingoism is bad but service is good. I guess that's my basic message.
On a lighter note, here's my grandparents' love story, which took them from the Midwest to NJ where my grandfather was serving in the Navy.