Reflections On America’s Wars

The Armed Forces Medley, also known as the Armed Forces Salute is today recognized as a collection of the official marchpasts/songs of the 6 services of the United States Armed Forces: Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, and as of 2020 the Space Force.

The Medley has become a common fixture in many band and orchestra concerts within the United States as a way to honor the active servicemen and women, reservists and veterans of the Armed Forces and the National Guard Bureau

Army recruiters love to talk a good game to get young adults to sign military contracts, but some people need more than just a couple motivating words to get them to join.

And they glorify Patriotism, War, and Purpose

Historically, combat has expressed human values and reflected cultural attitudes. In ancient Greece, combat was considered a test of character.

Greeks infused their battle with the Hellenic characteristics—personal freedom, discipline, technological development, camaraderie, initiative, and adaptation—that stemmed from the Hellenic culture itself.

In the centuries that followed, the ideal warrior continued to be defined by bravery, loyalty, valor, and discipline, as well as the ability to acquire superior technology and weapons.

The U.S. military defends the national interests and provides security, but the way it organizes and equips itself, fights, and honors its fighters also reflects and shapes the values of American society.

Those values, in turn, mold the individual soldier, forge a shared identity for the military services, permeate military codes and regulations, and influence how the military is viewed by society. The societal contribution of soldiers has “gone beyond warfighting. It has also been cognitive, cultural, ethical, and even ontological.”

But ‘War’ is the most destructive and pitiless of all human activities. And yet the experience of war has a profound and strangely compelling effect on those who fight.

Combat kills, maims, and terrifies, but it can also reveal the power of brotherhood and a selfless sense of purpose. It’s an experience that changes soldiers, and those changes last a lifetime.

Most who join the military and go to war are young—18, 19 years old—and many have never been away from home.

They have little experience of the world, let alone war, death, and killing. For them, and for all soldiers, combat is a complex mix of emotions that define the experience of war and shape the experience of coming home.

War is a lot of things and it is unrealistic to pretend that exciting isn’t one of them. War offers soldiers raw life: vibrant, terrifying, and full blast.

It is insanely exciting. It is the worst thing in the world, inflicting both physical and emotional injuries, yet the people who have been through it often miss it terribly.

This exhilaration is related to the brain’s physiological response to trauma and stress centered in the amygdala—the fight, flight, or freeze part of the brain—triggering adrenaline flow, pushing up pulse and blood pressure levels dramatically, and flooding the heart, brain, and major muscle groups.

The terror and privation of combat bonds men in a way that the word ‘brother’ only partly captures. Men become mothers to one another in combat.

Young soldiers in combat inevitably confront killing. They take life away from others, and in so doing breach one of the most fundamental moral values of their society, often with long-term consequences.

Fighting for survival in Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan, many often felt satisfaction when their unit killed the enemy. In later years, they felt haunted by those deaths, as do other combat veterans.

From Vietnam to Iraq to Afghanistan, Americans have sadly discovered that the US Government lied about the missions in these wars. The U.S. was winning, until it wasn’t.

But Just Remember ‘Big Lies have Big Consequences’ for those who fought in those wars. Secrecy and deception convey power. Deception can be coercive. When it succeeds, it can give power to the deceiver.”

One of those victims of those ‘BIG LIES that had BIG CONSEQUENCES’ is combat Vietnam Veteran, George Robinson, who is here to tell his story today.

George is a 100% Disabled Vietnam Veteran, and is today speaking for the millions of his fellow Veterans, and especially for the 58,000 men and women who died in another senseless war, The Vietnam War

He has proposed new legislation to protect the youth of America from future wars.