Letters to the Editor

Letter: Don’t celebrate war

July 4, 2014


To the editor:

The Star-Spangled Banner is sung at sporting events, ball games and 4th of July celebrations around the country with great gusto by fans in the stands with words like “the rockets red glare, the bombs bursting in air.” Fantastic fireworks displays follow, designed to thrill and delight the masses and are enjoyed by all with one exception: a combat veteran.

For these men, the streaming trails of fire, the shattering explosions, the bright flares, the bombs bursting and detonations of high explosives take them to a dark place in their soul, long kept distant. It brings feelings of loss, of melancholia, a powerful overwhelming sadness, and despair, a regret that innocence lost so long ago will never return. Veterans have seen real fire trails and the walking shadows of phosphorous flares, heard the exploding sounds of death and personally experienced the painful, tragic results from brutal war up front and personal.

To veterans, war is not something to celebrate; nor a song to sing.


Robert Rauktis 3 years, 10 months ago

Fair enough. But if you're being stoned on your way to getting your butt shoot off, it's nice to know your demise will at least be "an occasion", even if these patriots don't know a fox hole from a donut hole.

Yeah, it'd be nice if they found their way to some current vet services, rather tun entertaining themselves with fireworks, but that sort of thoughtful place doesn't need wars either.

Brock Masters 3 years, 10 months ago

The celebration of war, is in part, to glorify it to encourage enlistment.

We must sing songs, light fireworks and pin medals to continue feeding the war machine.

The truth is that our veterans are the victims of a scam, fodder for profits. Just look at how poorly we care for them when they return home.

Scott Burkhart 3 years, 10 months ago

The colonists that founded this country, sought to forge a nation of freedom. A freedom that was not dictated by a monarch and would not be ruled by despots. This bred a natural inclination and perpetual yearning for freedom. Whether Brock Masters or Richard Heckler wants to admit the truth or not, there are those in this world that would like to destroy us just for who we are. They start in other countries and then they come here with there sick and poisonous ideology. I.E. The World Trade Center on 9/11. This constant self flagellation that somehow we brought this on ourselves is just as sick as those that wish to destroy us. Freedom is to be defended wherever it is threatened if we are asked. Are we perfect as a nation? NO! Are we still the greatest nation on Earth? You darn skippy!

Brock Masters 3 years, 10 months ago

Scott, I don't need you to tell me that there is evil in the world or that there are those that would destroy. Russia, China , Iran and North Korea would wage war against us if they thought they could win.

The the to prevent them from waging war against us is to a united country with a strong military. But we should not celebrate war, especially the illegal wars waged by presidents and not declared by congress. Wars that sacrifice our men and women when our country is not in imminent danger - Viet Nam, the Gulf wars for example.

We don't honor our military men and women by sing songs, shooting off fireworks or pinning medals. We honor them by not sending them into war unless absolutely necessary and then giving them the best care possible when they return home.

Scott Burkhart 3 years, 10 months ago

I disagree. I think we do honor them with songs, shooting off fireworks, and pinning medals but not exclusively. The celebration of Independence Day is a celebration about the founding of our nation. If you and the others would like to use this day as a forum for self flagellation, as I mentioned earlier, and an opportunity to besmirch what our county stands for so be it. Just don't expect us that disagree with that kind of thinking to lie down and listen to it without reacting with disdain.

Brock Masters 3 years, 10 months ago

You can react however you want.

Where exactly did I bis rich this country?

Is voicing an opinion different than yours besmirching this country?

Is calling out those who think lighting fireworks or singing songs honors veterans while they languish in pain and die waiting for medical treatment besmirching this country?

I think it is patriotic to speak out against sending our military to die when our country is. To in danger of attack or when we could use our superior air power to level the country with little risk, but instead we send in ground troops to do the job because we don't want to risk some civilian getting killed.

You honor your country your way and I will honor it my way.

Mike Ford 3 years, 10 months ago

the colonists who founded this country left no freedom for the indigenous nations whose lands they took or the African and Indigenous peoples they enslaved. This country and the colonial powers in Europe left their footprint everywhere. Look at the Paulet-Newcombe land boundary treaty following World War One and how ISIS wants to remove the land boundaries created by western powers that have created the current mess between the Shea, Sunni, and Kurdish peoples. The blind comments made without any concept by some people make me shake my head.

Brock Masters 3 years, 10 months ago

We agree on this one. Quit meddling in the Middle East and in other countries business. If we want to be a free nation then we should allow other countries their freedoms too.

Scott Burkhart 3 years, 10 months ago

The indigenous people and the African people were conquered. So goes history. To the winner go the spoils.

Mike Ford 3 years, 10 months ago

gee you sound like a clueless colonial conquerer.....how 2014.

Scott Burkhart 3 years, 10 months ago

Well, I have sense enough to realize that nothing can repair the past. Independence Day is about the birth of our nation and people like you will always live with self hate.

Mike Ford 3 years, 10 months ago

I live with clueless people like yourself and your naïve love it or leave mentality, Your Nation is a reality of colonialism and exploitation. I guess your education sheltered you from this reality. To make a clueless Conservative see reality I once lived in Jonesville, Louisiana. It's about 45 miles west of Natchez. Mississippi. Jonesville is on the Oauchita/Black River. This river feeds into the Red River which is connected to the Mississippi River. The whole area was a US Civil War Combat theatre around the Siege of Vicksburg in 1863. This siege was on July 4th. The Union blockaded Vicksburg on the Mississippi River making the citizens of Vicksburg either eat mice, dead horses or starve. The Confederacy surrendered Vicksburg on the 4th and the Union gained control of the Mississippi River. When we lived there in 1975, the people in Jonesville said to go to Natchez for the Fourth we don't celebrate a Yankee holiday. Some people have a cowardly view and refuse reality and blame the people who confront them with said knowledge. Look in the mirror....who could that be?

John Yocum 3 years, 10 months ago

Ah, the LJW letters/blogs where not a holiday goes by without there being a letter denouncing the celebration of the holiday, a letter complaining about the way its celebrated, and posts slamming the people who are either pro or anti (insert holiday here). That's why we like Lawrence.

Matthew Herbert 3 years, 10 months ago

I'm saving my angry rant for April Fool's Day. I find that day to be really offensive to actual fools.

Susan Mangan 3 years, 10 months ago

How DARE you purport to speak for all combat veterans! Your complete misunderstanding of the holiday and the National Anthem demonstrates EXACTLY what is wrong with this country and why people no longer appreciate our history. The Star Spangled Banner does not "glorify war". That's a naive and simplistic comment I would expect from a 6 year old. You conveniently forgot the lyrics, immediately after the ones you quoted, "...gave proof through the night that the flag was still there..." The song celebrates, not war, but the realization that the people in this country, who less than 50 years prior, launched a revolution to fight for their ideals of freedom, were STILL free...as long as they saw the flag still flying. It was a poignant moment for the author (Francis Scott Key...who I'm guessing you believe was some sort of "hawk"), as he witnessed the bombardment of Ft McHenry, by the British, in 1812, and realized the power and symbolism of Old Glory. Celebrating and honoring a poignant moment, in the recognition of the powerful, and long-lived, ideals on which this country was founded, is what every American SHOULD do, every year, at a minimum, while they realize the freedom they have been given, by simple birthright, due to the happenstance of being born on the very soil celebrated in that song, and the right they have been assured, to act like an arrogant and pompous blowhard.

I am guessing, based on your letter, that you are a "combat veteran", and, as one, feel you are entitled to speak for the millions of others who have gone before you, and will go after. YOU ARE NOT. I spent the first 18 years of my life living exclusively on U.S. Army posts, throughout the United States, and Europe. I have known more combat veterans, during my lifetime, that you can ever imagine meeting. 85% of them served in Vietnam, the remainder in World War II, Korea, the Gulf War, and Iraq and Afghanistan. Not every combat veteran is the result of a cookie-cutter, who looks, thinks, and feels just like every other one does, as you, obviously, believe. I have witnessed the most patriotic, celebratory, excitement-filled, pride-inducing, and exhilarating July 4th celebrations that have ever existed...and every single one was put on display, with honor and pride, by the members of the United States Army. The first time I held a sparkler, or lit a firecracker, or watched the brilliant colorful explosions, overhead, was with the encouragement of my dad...who, despite enduring active combat, in Vietnam, finished his 30+ years of active-duty service to the U.S. Army with pride, honor, conviction, and enjoying the hell out of celebrating our hard-earned freedom by recreating that night, 200 years ago, by "blowing the crap out of stuff", in a purely American celebration. Get over yourself.

Curtis Bennett 3 years, 10 months ago

To Ms. Morgan and Scott Burkhart,

First of all, Scott, what service were you in and in what war was it you fought in? It seems if you want to comment on a veteran’s opinion, you should at least have an “inkling” of what the veteran is relating?

Ms. Morgan, you question how I "dare" to speak for combat veterans. Who are you? You, who have never been to; seen, or experienced combat to challenge someone who has been there. Funny, your dad being a 30-year Army Veteran somehow didn't encourage you to join up and go fight...I wonder why? Sit down and talk it over with your Dad, see how he feels about war and if Vietnam was worth 58,000 kids, some of whom he personally knew...dying!

As for you being an Army “base-brat” does not quite qualify you to speak for Veterans. If the Military is such a neat organization, why didn’t you join and go fight in war, now that combat is open to women? If you believe so strongly that killing other people in distant, faraway lands on this planet is a “noble” cause and one to boast and sing about and glorify, you have that right, but I sense from your comments you are overreacting out of guilt for not following in your father’s footsteps in the Military. You had the chance, why didn’t you go, so you could see for yourself what a “fun” thing war is?

And yes, I am a combat Veteran, Captain, USMC, Vietnam “I” Corps, 1968. As a pilot, I flew 201 combat missions and was shot at, had missiles and big guns fired at me on almost every mission of close air support during the Tet Offensive. I also spent 6 months in the field with the Korean Marines, where I slogged through the rain and mud, medevacing out the wounded and dead and we were rocketed and mortared and shot at day and night in the heat, rain, and burning sunshine, in our effort to kill people trying to kill us, and made it through, somehow.

I feel I have earned the right to have my opinion of that experience, and an obligation to share it. Apparently, those who have not been in combat, who have not been in the Military, are the first to share their “expertise”. If you are so convinced how great war is, we still have one in Afghanistan; why not send your kids over there to fight? And if he/she is killed, you could be proud that they died in the service of their country! The hard part, is explaining why?

Yeah, Ms. Morgan, I am a combat veteran of war. I have earned the right to express my opinion and if I am uncomfortable being around fireworks, explosions, and rockets, there is a reason, and if you had been to war and seen what those “bombs bursting in air” could do, you would know exactly how I feel, and why.

Until then, try to get over yourself!

Curtis D. Bennett

Susan Mangan 3 years, 10 months ago

Honey, try re-reading. It's MANGAN...not Morgan. You are so incredibly ignorant, I'm debating the value of trying to enlighten you. I believe in second chances, so I'll take a shot. But, based on your completely non-sequitur comments, I'm not going to hold out much hope.

Re-read your initial letter, you idiot. Did I EVER say you weren't entitled to your opinion? I said you have ABSOLUTELY NO RIGHT to pretend you speak for every combat veteran, ever, just because you were one. That stands today, and will tomorrow. If you don't like fireworks, great...even understandable. But you pretended you had an insight into every single veteran in your letter. You didn't qualify your comments with "some" or "I". You used grossly massive generalizations, and implied YOUR opinion belongs to all. You are wrong, and you have no right to mislead the populace by implying that you speak for everyone. You don't.

The ignorance I'm talking about is...how in the hell do you get that I think "how great war is", just because I understand, and support, the history of our National Anthem and the Fourth of July holiday??? Talk about confusing the issue! You, CLEARLY, don't understand the history of the song. It is not about glorifying, or celebrating, war. It is not about war being "great!" (@@), and it's not about how "wonderful" it would be to send your kids off to die in war. What an idiot. It is about the celebration of winning the fight against those threatening our freedom, in 1812. Crack a history book, hon. You could learn something. LOL. I know, that's a stretch :-)

Curtis Bennett 3 years, 10 months ago

My my, what a nerve I must have struck! So now you revert to name-calling and rage? When you have been in war and seen combat, then we may have a conversation, but in the meantime,why not go talk to all of your Military friends who have served in combat and ask them if it was worth it? Would they also, (like you) be willing to send their children off to die in the Middle East?

By the way, did they ever find those "weapons of mass destruction" over in Iraq? (You are so informed, I'm sure you would know this or your "friends" in the Military or even you could surely explain exactly why over 4,000 Americans gave their life over there!) C.Bennett

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