As we reflect on Veterans Day, it’s interesting to note how many veterans misperceive efforts to make war memorials more universal than the all-too-common cross variety that peppers our nation’s public places. The most common complaint from those upset with efforts to remove religious war memorials from public spaces is that there’s some anti-military sentiment involved, but that couldn’t be further from the truth.
As the United States military slowly but surely removes itself from Afghanistan, many of us are left to wonder what the legacy of our actions in that country will be. Regardless of how we feel about decisions to enter into any field of battle, we can have respect for those who serve this country by risking their lives for us and our values through their military service, like my namesake, my great uncle Roy Crane, who fought in World War II. We should especially honor those who lost their lives during their service. Erecting public monuments to thank them for their service and supreme sacrifice is fully appropriate.
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Roy Speckhardt is the executive director of the American Humanist Association