Letter to the editor, mid-Valley newspapers, May 30, 2021
“This Memorial Day, honor the fallen U.S. war hero if you will.
But, where is the memorial day for victims of U.S. aggression? If you have studied the true history of the U.S. empire, you know that this country has waged war for empire or some perceived threat to U.S. interests since the country’s inception. We have created literally countless victims, including Native Americans. None of these victims will be memorialized this Memorial Day.
Many of those who joined the U.S. military had the best intentions. But how many were misled into combat service by politicians and their corporate backers? Some voice support for the “good” wars. But those too could have been avoided through savvy diplomacy and other actions short of war.
Some U.S. veterans and current military members have committed atrocities and even war crimes. This is well documented. Are we honoring them too? When you say “Thank you for your service,” do know whether the recipient served honorably? Do you care? Many veterans we know prefer not to be thanked, as that can trigger memories of the horrific destruction in which they took part.
As we honor the U.S. war dead, we must also acknowledge our longstanding militant foreign policy, and we must honor and mourn the victims of U.S. hegemony. These were fellow human beings routinely swept away silently and promptly from American consciousness and under the historical rug.
This Memorial Day, please honor all victims of war.”
Bart Bolger, Former president, Veterans for Peace, Mid-Valley Chapter, Corvallis