Fireworks, flags and freedom, that’s what we’re supposed to focus on this Independence Day. For me, an Army, infantry veteran of the U.S. war against the people of Viet Nam, these three generate the following thoughts. Fireworks remind me of bombs, mortars, death and destruction. The flag is used to cover over the violence that is the root of this country and the massive expenditures on weapons and “security” that rob us of our social needs. Freedom is a frequently used word that is more like an ointment, than reality.
Invasions and violence don’t “keep us free”. They take our resources, destroy lives, and have negative, long lasting effects – unless you’re part of the minority that profits from them.
On this July 4th I suggest that you read the Declaration of Independence through the eyes of a resident of one of the many countries that the U.S. has invaded and plundered. The unalienable rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness take on new meaning if you’re on the receiving end of U.S. “independence”.
Written by Arnold Stieber Chicago VFP coordinator.
To view this letter as published in the Chicago Tribune Letters to the Editor section click here.