Press release hell, day 567: Honor a veteran?

I’ve been on vacation — and a post about why is coming soon — and today I returned to my beloved job with a mountain of less-than-beloved press releases. It’s Friday night and I’m going through them, and my patience is — well, you can pretty much guess. This one set me off:

“Remember, the theme is ‘Honor America’s Veterans’, featuring red, white and blue kites, banners and flags galore…New and experienced flyers should bring their best red, white and blue kites to share the freedom of kite flying by sharing kite knowledge and including the public.”

Fly a kite. To honor our veterans. Sponsored by a store that — hey, what a co-winky-dink — sells kites.

Folks, I’m all for honoring our veterans. But talk to any Viet Nam vet who can’t hear a helicopter without freaking the hell out, or any veteran who was injected with anthrax vaccines before the government ordered the testing stopped, or any Gulf War veteran who has lingering illnesses and mental scars the VA doesn’t actually have a goddamn clue how to treat other than by throwing handfuls of pills at them, and then tell me that flying a red, white and blue kite will change a goddamn thing for them.

You want to honor a veteran? Call your congressman and demand they fund medical research on treating PTSD and finding ways to treat vets exposed to chemical welfare. Volunteer your time at a soup kitchen to help the homeless men left on the street when President Reagan closed the state hospitals and left many emotionally and mentally damaged Viet Nam vets to fend for themselves. Give your money to Wounded Warrior Project or VETSports Tampa Bay. Tweet to our president — because we know he checks his Twitter — and demand our veterans get the healthcare they not only earned, they deserve.

Oh, hey, a kite… it’s all better now! kennethkonica via Flickr/CC

But don’t go buy a damn red, white and blue kite and fly it. That doesn’t help anyone but the high-rent shop on the beach that’s profiting off the men and women who made unbelievable sacrifices for our liberty.

And, you know what? Good for them if they really believe that’s helping any veteran at all. Do you really think, though, that the ex-marine who entertains thoughts of ending it all because she can’t cope with what she’s seen and done is going to see a kite and say, “Gosh, golly gee, I feel ALL BETTER NOW”?

These men and women were willing to give up their lives, their families, their tomorrows for you. Flying a kite for them isn’t only a meaningless thing, it’s patently fucking offensive: “I would die for your freedom” and “I would fly a kite on a beautiful day in November to honor that” are not even on the same planet.


This is why I don’t take vacations.





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I write. I take pictures. I love my dog. I love Florida. My 2016 book, 'Backroads of Paradise' did really well for the publisher and now I feel a ridiculous amount of pressure to finish the second book.

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