My Beautiful Wickedness

If you’re looking for something to do on Veterans’ Day…
November 11, 2007, 6:34 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

why don’t you go read about what’s actually happening in Iraq from the point of view of a guy who is currently serving there? Here’s the link.

But if you don’t care to go look at Chris’s site, at least read what he has to say about being a vet and the whole “how should we honor veterans when we hate the war?” thing:

Hello and happy Veterans’ Day to you. I know that in any gathering of our citizens, there is bound to be a veteran present and if not, there will be a child or spouse of a veteran. I start by saying thank from me and my entire family for what you have given us through your service.

Less than one percent of our population serves in the active duty military. Including the national guard and reserves brings that figure to less than two percent. We few who serve are very fortunate indeed. It is a proud honor to make our own small individual attempt to pay back the benefits we receive through our citizenship. When I was young, I travelled abroad. I visited countries where military service was mandatory for all citizens. I was shocked to see that these countries with high unemployment rates and few services to the public had compulsory miltary service while my country did not. That experience motivated me to try and give something back for the life I am given as an American.

There are days when I sorely regret my decision to join the military. Today I am far from home in Iraq, and every day I see tragic injuries to troops and civilians in this war. But I will never regret one second of the time and effort I have spent as a doctor for troops and their families in the service of my country. When I compare the chaos and sensless taking of life here to the stability and safety that my family enjoys at home, I feel that I could serve a hundred years and still not earn the blessings we have been given as Americans. I am very proud to be a part of my military family.

As I spend Veteran’s day in Iraq, I suspect that the main emotion I will feel is how dearly I miss my family. In the missing of that life it is very clear to me how precious it is. That life is all the sweeter because it is on United States soil.

I would tell you on Veterans’ Day, do not feel bad for me or worry for me. I am lucky to get up every day and try to do my job as best I can. It is my great privilege to do that job in support of my fellow troops and our great nation. If you wish to thank a veteran, do it in this way. Exercise your freedoms. Speak up and make your views known. If you see a way our country can do better, take an active role to make it so. Don’t ever let anyone take away your rights. We have them because veterans fought and died for us. You honor veterans best when you do your part to make this nation serve the people, all the people.


2 Comments so far
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Dear Beautiful Wickedness,

Thank you so much for reading my post. It has been so frustrating as a US troop to see the message come up again and again accusing those who protest the war as unpatriotic. Anyone who speaks their mind is being patriotic. I am happy to see you carry that tradition on here.

Best wishes,


Comment by Chris Coppola

Chris, many people in my family are in the military. I have the GI Bill to thank for my family’s mobility out of sharecropping and a life of grueling poverty into the middle class. Part of my college tuition was paid for by the American Legion. When I marched in those Veterans’ Day parades (even during the black final days in Vietnam) and watched the flag snapping on the pole, I felt honestly and sincerely thankful for the hardships endured by our service personnel and that feeling and pride in my country has endured. Because I respect all of you so much (and hey, because Uncle has made my life as it is now possible), I want all of your lives highly regarded and your services stewarded with care and led responsibly. I insist that you all be treated with integrity and given the resources that you need while you serve and that you and your families be given the respect, medical treatment and other benefits that you have been promised. I’m furious that the men you are patching up and sending home are not getting adequate care. I’m angry as hell that there’s so little support for returning families that are being torn up by PTSD and post-deployment addictions. (My extended family included.) I am baffled by the ability over here for most citizens to simply “tune out”; there’s been an incredible failure of leadership and an erosion of much that I hold dear about my own system of governance. The costs of this war (social, moral, political) are crippling the country. So, my frustration with the war goes way beyond all the sound humanitarian reasons that would apply to any international engagement that drags on without resolution and draws so many civilians into harm’s path.

I was raised to believe in the America of Frank Capra movies and Ernie Pyle columns, communities of caring that treated humans with the inherent worth and dignity that God requires. That’s worth fighting for — you in your way, me in mine. I’m glad we’re in this together.

Keep your head down,


Comment by bridgett

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