Since I was wounded in the Afghanistan war, I’ve spoken to business clubs, faith congregations, scholars, and women’s groups about what we owe warriors.
There are usually a few in the crowd who insist they don’t support war. The unanswered question hangs in the air, “So, you don’t support the women and men who risked their lives because this country asked?”
It’s that asking that we should remember. Regardless of her/his personal views on war, everyone who pays taxes in the United States supports every military action — every war, every conflict, every drone attack, undertaken in our name.
Some Quakers have withheld taxes to show their pacifism in the U.S., but most Americans don’t want to suffer the wrath of the IRS to make such a moral stand.
I consider myself a pacifist, yet that doesn’t stop me from showing gratitude to the men and women in the U.S. Special Forces who saved my life in Afghanistan. I don’t support the motivation of U.S. leaders who sent troops to Iraq, but my taxes are likely to pay for that war the rest of my life.
Certainly, this country will pay for a very long time for its unfunded wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
More critically, we’ll pay for the physical and psychological rehabilitation and recovery of veterans for the rest of our days.
Call it fighting for freedom, call it employment for minorities, or just label it answering the call of their country — millions have served/continue to serve, and they deserve our gratitude and support.
Just saying “thanks for your service” is a start, but sounds a bit hollow, given the great demand for mental health services, post-war training and employment, and other needs of this generation of warriors.
“It’s about the WARRIOR, not the WAR,” advises the Wounded Warrior Project, celebrating its 10th anniversary this year.
From its famous backpacks to its highly successful, post-combat education programs, this national group has helped more than 20,000 warriors and their families since Sept. 11, 2011.
It has a dozen offices across the country from New York to Washington, D.C., to California, yet most of its work is done by volunteers.
Wounded Warrior Project motto: “The greatest casualty is being forgotten.”
I’ll never forget, so I donated $25 today to the WWP, in gratitude for the sacrifice of warriors who helped me, a war survivor.
Giving Sundays is a new, weekly feature for living in gratitude. As a new citizen, it’s showing me more ways that Americans can support each other.