As we pause to remember and thank the men and women who have served our country in peace and war, it might be good to reflect on what the phrase “Support Our Troops” means. To some people it might mean waving the flag and patting a soldier on the back for doing a good job. To others it might mean working to prevent a flawed US foreign policy that propels our troops into senseless war, or working to make sure that servicemen and women come home to a country that provides them with the health care, educational opportunities, and employment prospects that offer them and their families a secure future.
During the invasion of Iraq I participated regularly in peace vigils on a busy avenue. One day a car driven by a young man in uniform stopped in front of us for the red light. He looked at our group, the signs, the peace flags. With a bewildered tone he said “Shouldn’t you support your troops?”
My answer was “We do support our troops. We want to bring them home and give them the health care they need.”
The light changed to green. The young man leaned out his window and drove slowly across the intersection, saluting our group the whole way.