VETERANS' DAY - WALTER LEWIS SMITH

Here is one veteran; not a glyph on a wall, but a man with a name, a face, and a history. To his friends and family he was a real human being, even though to the War Department he was just another statistic.

But as I think back on him, I know for a fact that he and the millions of others who served in all the various wars the United States became entangled in would be shocked and saddened to see that the government for which they sacrificed so much has become the very embodiment of all that they fought so hard against. No more First Amendment, warrantless spying on Americans, show trials, confessions extracted by torture, workers looted to enrich Wall Street criminals, protesters beaten and shot; for this Walter gave up a lung?

This Veterans' Day, pause a moment to look at the flag for what it used to represent rather than the globally hated symbol it has since become. Consider all those in your family who risked and sometimes lost all in America's wars, and decide for yourself how they would feel about the government of this nation as it exists today.

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