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  • Writer's pictureDavid

I am a veteran and I cannot stay silent anymore. Veterans for Black Lives Matter.

Updated: Jun 25, 2020

I swore an oath to support and defend the Constitution and the citizens it represents. That oath did not end with my separation from the military and I can no longer sit back and do nothing.

I am a retired green side Navy Corpsman. That's a subtle way of saying I was in the Navy, but served as a combat medic with the Marines in Afghanistan. My patriotism and love of my country has not diminished, though, I can't help but wonder if Aaron Sorkin is right in saying America is no longer the greatest country in the world. It pains me to think that way. It pains me to know how many people have sacrificed and died to make this country what it is, a bastion of freedom, a beacon of hope.

I am a corpsman who wants to continue to serve my country. However, instead of going abroad, it is time to serve here in America and no, not like active duty military colleagues were serving in DC. We often hear the phrase ‘support and defend’ when discussing military service. The idea has long been growing on me that as a veteran, we made that oath and like any solemn promise, I cannot walk away from it. But how I thought I would be relevant to service has appeared in a different form from what I expected. I'm not picking up arms and putting back on the uniform. Rather, I am using my voice and taking steps to become more educated and more active in ushering in change and ensuring that we hold to the tenets of the Constitution.

After the death of George Floyd, like many, I wanted to be shocked, but I wasn't. Report after report of police acting violently was horrible, but to twist the dagger a little more, so many of these 'bad apples' get away with it. So how can we as veterans not stand up now? How can we not serve and defend those who are constantly under attack? How can a minority of this country make a majority of the prosecutions and not believe that the system is against them? How can four men murder an individual and they all not be held accountable immediately, without delay, like any normal citizen would be? In the military, we are held to a very high standard, especially when operating overseas in combat. Every round we fired was inventoried and accounted for. The red tape was so thick, we often could not return fire or storm a compound because of possible collateral damage. But here, in America, police officers are continually protected and allowed to operate with impunity.

Tell me, how is it that the standards could be so high in the chaos of war, but so low on the very streets of our sovereign nation?

To those who have already showed up, to those planning to, for the many who have emailed me already, thank you so much. I’m a combat vet. The crowd, the people, the cause, it’s a lot to take. So if that is something you're concerned about, I understand completely. But there are still ways to get involved behind the scenes, administration, set up, clean up, online support, etc. Find a way to help. For me, I am going back out there. I am standing for what is right, for as long as I am able. Because we cannot watch our Constitution, our way of life continue to be thwarted and used against us. We must vote. And we must hold our politicians accountable.

For those on active duty, who cannot protest, but who would if they could, we will stand for you. For those who have orders in DC right now, who have no choice but to follow the orders of your superiors, we will stand for you. I hope all veterans in the DMV area will come and stand for what’s right, what is just. We owe to the people of this great country to rise up and continue to serve. Regardless of political ideology, we cannot allow the POTUS to use the military at his whim. We cannot allow him to use US troops on US soil. That will not solve the crisis in this country. It will only reap more violence and division. It is a dangerous use of executive power. It’s time to stand together for what is right. Thank you. I hope to see you all very soon.

If you are a veteran and interested in doing more, please stand up. If you’re on the fence about stepping up to the call of your oath, ask yourself, should we have military patrolling US streets? Last night Blackhawk helicopters were patrolling above and military police were pushing peaceful protesters back from their constitutionally protected right to protest so our POTUS could pose for a photo op. We swore an oath to protect both foreign and domestic. What will you do?

If you know someone who is a veteran, please share with them this message.

Thank you in advance. Semper fi.


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