Veteran’s Day Reflections From a Civil Libertarian Former Soldier

In the past few weeks, I’ve spent considerable time, far more than usual in fact, reflecting on what Veteran’s Day means to me both now and at different times in the past decade. Before joining the military, Veteran’s Day for me was what I imagine it to be for most Americans: a day to recognize the service that a portion of our population volunteered for and to thank the veterans and active duty service members I knew for serving and risking their lives for our country.

While I was on active duty, Veteran’s Day was mostly a time to tune out the noise and check in on fellow soldiers at home and abroad. During this time, I developed a tradition of calling at least three soldiers I had served with each Veteran’s Day to say hello and see how they were doing.

I have now been out of the Army for nearly four and a half years and, in many ways, the day has taken on increasing significance with each passing year. This year in particular, the day has taken on increased meaning in light of the initiatives coming out of the White House and the broader political climate.

Earlier this year, I wrote about about the Trump administration’s unnecessary and immoral ban on transgender soldiers. As I explained then:

“History has proven time and time again that restrictions against certain groups joining the military, such as African-Americans or Japanese-Americans, are self-defeating. The results of lifting these arbitrary restrictions have always been the same. The reasons given for the restrictions never came to fruition, were based on fear and prejudice, and the military was ultimately stronger based on a swell of new applicants and diversity in its ranks.”

Trump’s trans ban is antithetical to the core tenants of the military; it is destructive to our unit cohesion and military readiness; and it is just indefensible and wrong to target transgender individuals for discrimination in the military. I have been heartened by the obstacles President Trump has faced in implementing them. We cannot rest until the ban is struck down permanently and transgender individuals who are fit and ready to serve can both enlist and be retained in the military with full and equal access to all the benefits of service that the rest of enjoy.

Today I give thanks and honor the transgender service members who not only have taken on the duties and responsibilities, risks and sacrifices of service, but who have to do so with a target on their back from their commander in chief. They have to serve with the knowledge that in an instant, all they have worked for could be taken away from them simply because of who they are.

This targeting of transgender individuals is part of a larger climate in which veterans and service members are being exploited and disrespected for political gain. Recently, the discussion of veterans has seemed to present itself most frequently in the ongoing conversation surrounding the National Football League players who have chosen to kneel during the national anthem in protest of racial injustice. Many have characterized the actions of these players as “protests against the anthem” or our country, which, to me as a veteran, is ludicrous.

The day I enlisted in the Army, I held up my right hand and swore to “defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic.” And one of the most critical rights the Constitution’s Bill of Rights guarantees is “the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

There is simply no question that the right to peaceful protest is precisely what veterans fight to protect. It is woven directly into the oath we all took the day we enlisted, just like our obligation to fight for equal protection of the laws and the equal dignity of our fellow Americans and soldiers.

Today I hope others will join me in resisting the urge to appropriate notions of what it means to be a veteran. Instead, call a veteran you know to thank them for the sacrifices they made and the work they did to allow our flawed but beautiful democracy to survive. Even better, work in defense of our rights — to protest, to equal protection, to justice.

That is what it means to serve, and that it what it means to honor service.

View comments (19)
Read the Terms of Use

Dr. Joseph Goebbels

If Veterns Day is so special, why don't we get time off from work. That shows what the leadership really thinks about veterns.


It’s a federal holiday. Government offices, banks, the markets, schools and some businesses will be closed on the business day observation on Monday.

You don’t get time off from work because your boss is a dick or your are essential personnel. Or you’re just stupid and got a job you don’t care about. Wait, I don’t mean stupid I mean ignorant. No wait, I think you know better so you are stupid.

Dr. Joseph Goebbels

Government employees get more holidays? As if they are not slack enough already.


The government is the only church I believe in. When my pastor raped my friend I decided Jesus wasn’t for me. The gay Jew with a foot fetish can keep his “religion”. Then I found out Jesus wasn’t Baptist or white. He was a gay Jew sand nigger. So I changed my mind and became a gay Christian Buddhist Shinto shaman.

Shame on me. Hahahah, I love you Moses, you fucked Jesus good.


I heard my daddy and sister have anal sex in the Oval Office. Is that true? It must be, I heard my aunt moaning and leaking from her butthole.

Then Jared came out of the office with white sponge on his face. Wtf. Who is my daddy.


You can take the nigga out of the hood but you can’t take the hood out of tha nigga.

Jews will always eat challah bread. To pronounce it you have to cough first then ahhhh then lllahh.

Yup. Allah bread with a kkk


The Trump Admin told Suadia Arabia that they could attack Iran and we would do nothing.

It’s about time we got these sand niggers to fight each other instead of us. Praise George Bush! It was his plan but trump will take credit.


21 hours ago The American President tweeted-

“I don’t blame China, I blame the incompetence of past Admins for allowing China to take advantage of the U.S. on trade leading up to a point where the U.S. is losing $100's of billions. How can you blame China for taking advantage of people that had no clue? I would've done same!”

Nice bro, you showed your hand that you are not trustworthy. Taking advantage of people that have no clue is what a criminal villain does. Do you think these type of comments make the world respect and trust you? No Clue Trump. That your nickname. Or Trump Brain works too. It implies he has no brain.


Does anyone know who the ACLUs third party IT provider is? They don’t employ IT people and outsource it oversees to an Indian company.

This company manages the webpage and tracks your IP etc for “marketing” purposes.

Let’s expose this “free” and “open” group for who they are. Hypocrites of the highest quality!


It is a federal felony for any official or contractor to censor or obstruct this post:

I'm alleging the FBI, local police chiefs and others - dating back to at least the 1980's - misled judges and fabricated evidence which were felony crimes back in the 1980's under Title 18 and other "color of law" statutes.

Legally that means 100% of investigators in 2017 are "accessories-after-the-fact" in felony crimes.

If there are any honest Special Prosecutors - independent of the Deptartment of Injustice - you can easily find me.


Stay Informed