Categorized | Opinion

The Other Veterans

Posted on 13 November 2015 by Howard Copelan

Howard Copelan, Publisher

Howard Copelan, Publisher

Somewhere in the high desert of Syria there sits an American peshmerga. A volunteer to the cause of liberty that this country is officially ambivalent to. In fact there is more than one American volunteer to the peshmerga which by way means those who are not afraid to die.

They are fighting on three fronts against the obscene ISIS and the not quite as obscene Syrian regime and the still less obscene but still pretty gross Turkish army.

Some of these Americans are veterans of the Iraq and/or Afghan wars. Some of them are devout Christians defending Christian cities and villages from oblivion. All of them make us proud to be Americans and prouder still to call them our countrymen.

Yes we honor those who wear or who have worn this nation’s uniform and they deserve the full measure of our support. But so do those forgotten heroes who found they could not wait for a formal declaration of war.

It is that legion of men and more than a few women who broke the law to save the world. Not once but many times over.

We speak  of the 100 or so volunteers from Ely who left for war in 1915 to fight for Serbian freedom from the Austro-Hungarian Empire two years before America entered World War I.

We speak of the thousands of Americans who fought against fascism and Nazism in the Abraham Lincoln Brigade in the Spanish Civil war.

We honor those who snuck across the northern boarder to join the Canadian Army from 1939 to 1941 and those of the Flying Tigers who battled the Empire of Japan long before Pearl Harbor.

And we honor those Americans who helped birth the fledging state of Israel including the first general of the Israeli Army general Micky Marcus West Point class of 1924.

That American peshmerga today is the son of those men in spirit and in deed. In the very best case his war will be but a precursor to formal American involvement in the worst case his side will lose and his sacrifice will be forgotten by most of his countrymen.

But like his fathers and grand fathers the American peshmerga does not fight for glory or history. He fights because it is the right thing to do and may G-d bless him.

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