It is a nice, crisp, frosty if grey morning. Veterans' Day 2007. The type of day that brings ole Bacchus to life. As we strolled through the neighborhood the first thing that hit me was the lack of flags on display.
It occurred to me we always seem to be a war or two behind when it comes to giving those who fought those wars their due. I took another look at the morning papes and noted the pictures were mostly of men my age, give or take a few years. The men of the Vietnam era. Once it had been World War II and before that World War I. You see little of the Korean War nor of the first Gulf War. And even less of those who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan. Today's war.
According to the Christian Science Monitor there are already 130,000 vets who have served and returned from Afghanistan and Iraq. Those ranks will continue to swell as our leaders wring their hands over what to do. Their anguish, I would hope, is that they allowed this mess yet haven't a clue as to how to end it. They worry about outright civil war in Iraq. Add to that the lust among the neocons to bomb Iran.
As I rebrowse the paper I see a small headline that reads Six U.S. soldiers killed in Afghanistan while another asks What makes a hero? Do we even have to ask that? As we wallow in apparent confusion one more catches my eye, Rival Sunnis clash in Iraq. Do we have any idea who is fighting who and why and which side we're supposedly supporting - and why? We're not in danger of sinking into chaos. We're there.
Immediately after 9/11 there wasn't a house in the country that wasn't flying the American flag. Today is the day we are supposed to be honoring those who defend that flag. Today there will be more veterans added to the roster - living, injured, dying and dead. Flying our flag is so little to ask. So where are they?