Like most military retirees, I love this country more than life itself. The American flag presented to me during my retirement ceremony is my most precious possession. It was an honor to serve our country.
Anti-war protesters probably dont realize it, but no one hates war more than the military. With a few notable exceptions, Americas military history has been one of reluctant warriors led by reluctant generals. From George Washington to Norman Schwarzkopf and Colin Powell, our military leaders have sent troops into battle not with a lust for blood but with a prayer for their safe return.
Although I disagree with the protesters, I dont consider them un-American. The right to disagree and to protest non-violently is a key element in our democracy. As much as I dislike the protests, Im just as unhappy when I see a so-called patriot spitting on someone demonstrating peacefully, or when a sign gets ripped up just because someone disagrees with the message.
My own message to our present-day military members is simple: I thank you from the bottom of my heart for your dedication and sacrifice.
And to the anti-war protesters, you can demonstrate against war in general or against government policies that lead to war. But protest the war, not the warriors. The men and women who fight today and the ones who have fought in the past, especially the hundreds of thousands who died on the field of battle, are the very reason you are able to hold your signs and chant your slogans. They deserve to be treated with dignity and respect.
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