Monday, November 21, 2011

The grinch who stole Veterans Day

By David Colthart November 17, 2011 at 7:37 pm  

When Veterans Day rolls around, as it did last week, many Americans take the opportunity to show their gratitude, if only by saying "thanks" to the veterans serving our country.

Michael Avery, professor of law at Suffolk University in Boston, however, is above such "irrational sympathy" and chose instead to use the occasion as a platform for his extreme political views.

Responding to a care package drive at the University, Avery wrote an e-mail saying:

"I think it is shameful that it is perceived as legitimate to solicit in an academic institution for support for men and women who have gone overseas to kill other human beings.

"I understand that there is a residual sympathy for service members, perhaps engendered by support for troops in World War II, or perhaps from when there was a draft and people with few resources to resist were involuntarily sent to battle. That sympathy is not particularly rational in today's world, however."

Whatever his view on America's current war footing, or on war in general, Avery embarrasses himself and Suffolk University by moralizing about care packages; as if a mother sending her son fresh socks in Afghanistan amounts to the aiding and abetting of a killer.

I served in the U.S. Marine Corps as an enlisted machine gunner for four years before getting out and pursuing a bachelor's degree here at ASU.

Care packages and letters helped keep my friends and me sane while on deployment. They reminded us that a real life would still be here waiting for us when we got back home.

I've never forgotten the older woman from Maine, a complete stranger, who sent me the sweetest, most sincere letters while I was in Iraq. She would tell me that she was thinking of me, and share endearing stories about retired life with her husband in their foggy neighborhood by the sea.

Then there was the class of elementary school children in Texas who drew pictures and wrote heartwarming messages of support, which their teacher then compiled and sent to me while we were deployed to South East Asia.

Avery can sit in his ivory tower and treat every issue as an intellectual exercise if he wants, but he could really learn a lot from my pen-pal in Maine and those schoolchildren in Texas, all of whom realize that soldiers are people, not abstract political entities.

Perhaps spending some time with people in the military would convince Avery that they are, in fact, worthy of the Twinkies and toothpaste that cause him so much concern.

It certainly made a big impression on class act Justin Timberlake who attended the 236th Marine Corps Birthday Ball with Cpl. Kelsey DeSantis last weekend after accepting the 23-year old fan's YouTube invitation to the event several months ago.

On his blog at, he called it "an event that turned out to be one of the most moving evenings I've ever had…"

"It hit me all of a sudden that these were the type of people that look after us and our freedom … Humble, concerned for others before themselves … This was the type of person our Marine Corps was building. I was really blown away," Timberlake wrote.

Feeling a special love and kinship for your fellow countrymen might be a vice to academics like Avery, but for the rest of us, there's, where you can help send a care package to somebody standing on the front lines this very moment.


No comments: