Respect for Our Veterans’ Legacy

Staff Sgt. Calvin Gibbs, (Photo via CNN.COM)

Just recently, I read a heartbreaking story of Calvin Gibbs, a U.S. Army Staff Sergeant who lead a rogue kill squad in Afghanistan which killed multiple Afghan civilians and planted weapons on them to make them appear as if they had initiated the violence.

And to make matters worse, he removed pieces of their dead bodies as souvenirs of their deaths, and had tattoos indicating how many people he had killed.

This is not how our country should be represented. And this is certainly not the point of having a military. I am thankful that Gibbs will be spending his life in military prison for these heinous and inhumane crimes.

When I think back to the various history classes I have taken, I recall the images of our country’s veterans. From the Revolutionary War and on, I always remember seeing that our involvement in international warfare was a necessity, a method of defending our country’s freedom and citizens. But as our military continues to grow and expand, the American impression of our military’s purpose seems to have shifted from defense to offense. Too often I have heard people talk about going into the military to “shoot some [racial slur].”

This never was, and never will be, the purpose of our military. In previous wars and conflicts, plenty of the young men and women who were shipped overseas knew their purpose was for defense. Any of them would gladly share stories of the troubles they endured, but never would you hear of them torturing innocent and unarmed civilians. Because that was not their job. So when people like Gibbs come along, with the cruel intention of ruining the lives of innocents, it not only tarnishes the image of our country, but of our military personnel, both past and present.

Out of respect for our veterans, we need to stop condoning the death of others just because they are different. Celebrating death does not make us bigger men; it makes us terrorists.

I don’t agree with the concept of war, but I understand its purpose and hold a great level of respect for those who serve. From my late grandfather, who served in Korea, to my cousin currently serving the Marines in Afghanistan, in addition to all my friends and family who risked their lives to defend our freedoms, I say thank you. Thank you for protecting our country, and protecting the innocent.

Thank you for doing your jobs.


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