At every sporting event I’ve been to over the past couple of decades, there has been some sort of tribute to the armed forces. Even at the SPHL hockey games here in Louisiana, we have everything from ticket giveaways to veterans to military recruits taking their oath of enlistment on the ice in between periods.
It turns out that some of these displays of patriotism, at least at the major league level, were paid for by the Department of Defense. Now U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, among others, is stating that these sponsored displays should end.
The call comes as U.S. Senators John McCain and Jeff Flake, both Arizona Republicans, released a report detailing how the Department of Defense spent some $9 million in taxpayer dollars over four years to sponsor a range of patriotic displays at sporting events, including about $700,000 at New England Patriots games.
Among the activities noted in the report were paid performances of God Bless America and the National Anthem, flag displays and events recognizing “hometown heroes.” It also included paid luxury suites for military officials. (Source)
On one hand, I understand that this could be considered paid advertising for recruitment purposes. During commercial breaks on TV, you’ll see spots for the Marines, the Navy, the Army, the Air Force and sometimes even the Coast Guard. It would make sense then that the Department of Defense would extend this advertising to the field as well, but I am a bit uncomfortable with it being disguised as displays of patriotism and appreciation for veterans – especially considering the fact that our country has a horrible track record of taking care of those who have served.
This Veterans Day, much ado is being made about honoring veterans once again. Stores are offering additional discounts on their sales to veterans and many restaurants are offering free meals to those who have served. Sports teams will don special uniforms and political figures will give speeches about the great sacrifices that our troops have made.
All of those things are well and good, but our country seems to have a problem with doing anything more than paying lip service to the men and women who have worn a military uniform. Consider the fact that lawmakers in Washington have blocked bills that would help veterans in stupid squabbles over unrelated issues like Planned Parenthood, or have complained that funding VA programs would be too expensive.
Oh sure, we can shout “USA! USA! USA!” at football games and put “Support The Troops” bumper stickers on our vehicles, but all of that is meaningless unless we do more.
As I previously said:
As a nation, we don’t do enough to actually take care of our veterans and instead settle for well-intentioned but nearly useless tokens of gratitude. Instead of making sure no veteran, or anyone for that matter, has to sleep on a park bench or goes without the help so many desperately need, we allow ourselves to think that a “like” on Facebook or a moment of applause at a sporting event somehow repays millions of men and women for defending our way of life. And if this shallow, commercial farce is what “supporting our troops” is all about, I don’t want any part of that. (Source)
This is America, probably the greatest and most powerful country this world has ever known. We can do better than this for our veterans. We have to do better than this.
Latest posts by Manny Schewitz (see all)
- It Looks Inevitable, Donald Trump Will Eventually Be The Republican Nominee - January 17, 2016
- Donald Trump Is Now Using Ted Cruz’s Canadian Birth Against Him - January 14, 2016
- Hillary Clinton’s False Statements On Bernie Sanders’ Healthcare Record Are Disgraceful - January 14, 2016