Hi Lauren. I’m fairly certain that since your family emigrated to the US as a result of the American War in Vietnam that you have opinions about any number of things regarding military service, but Veterans Day is about more than “America” or “Flags”. It doesn’t seem much different than Memorial Day, but that day is perhaps more about blood, sacrifice, dying for the cause etc. There are many veterans who were drafted to serve in Vietnam against their will and more have died from suicide than have died in action in Afghanistan and Iraq. I’m no jingo and I get annoyed at collective manipulation for nationalistic reasons, and don’t pledge allegiance to the flag for that reason, but for me Veterans Day is simply a day to reflect on the fact that people have served. Lots and lots of them. Revolutionary war, Civil War, on up and even in peace time. With two sons I’m grateful we don’t have mandatory service and I’ve got very mixed feelings about the small percentage of citizens in our current volunteer military, but service is service.
Islamic Center of Alameda (and Masjid International Wahadah) placed pamphlets on windshields of cars parked at the Harbor Bay Ferry Parking Lot on Veterans Day that have a hand with a finger pointing directly toward you in the same manner that World War II posters of “Uncle Sam Wants You.” The title of the pamphlet is “Islam to you.”
Inside is a general run down of what Islam is with one section that might raise eyebrows:
“F. STATE AND RELIGION
Muslims believe that Islam is a total and a complete way of life. It encompasses all aspects of life. As such, the teachings of Islam do not separate religion from politics. As a matter of fact, state and religion are under the obedience of Allah through the teachings of Islam. Hence, economic and social transactions, as well as educational political systems, are apart of Islam.”
So, completely tone deaf takeoff of a World War II military recruiting image to promote Islam, which is trying to get a reaction?
MI: for me, the whole celebration of Veterans Day rings a bit hollow when we allow tens of thousands of veterans to sit homeless on the streets, and an even larger number of those facing poverty. I don’t find trotting out the free meals and lunches or flag waving to make up for the neglect every other day of the year. It may make people feel good to have one day when they say “hey thanks for your service” but a real thank you would not be to turn up their noses at the man on the streets that didn’t get adequate support when he returned home from service.
I enjoyed having lunch with Mayor Trish Spencer and Veterans at the Veterans Day Service held at the Alameda Veterans Memorial Building, at the eleventh hour of the eleventh day in the eleventh month. Had a lively discussion with a Navy Vietnam vet who tried to convince me to vote for Bernie Sanders. Too bad no other Alameda city councilmembers were there.