President Barack Obama may have raised an issue on all wars when he eulogized a fallen comrade on June 26, 2015, at the funeral for the pastor of the AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina.
While never detracting from the valor that Confederate soldiers fought with in the Civil War, he offered a plain and simple truth.
The cause they fought for was wrong.
The cause their leaders created to secede from the union was wrong. Wanting to uphold slavery as the economic foundation for the South’s way of life was wrong.
It was wrong hundreds of years ago in our nation, just as it was wrong thousands of years ago when Jews, Greeks and other defeated people were enslaved by others. It was wrong in the time of the Moses as it was in the time of Lincoln.
What about other wars that leaders of powerful armies ordered their soldiers to fight in? Were any of them “wrong” and can we as a God-fearing country ever admit to it?
I’m speaking about the Vietnam War in my time. I fought for what my leaders convinced our nation was the right thing to do. I never questioned their reasons or the basis for their belief.
But history has shown that they were wrong. The cause was wrong. And that the leaders of the resistance movement in Vietnam were right. Their cause was right. Admitting this does not detract from the bravery “our side” shown in the war. Nor does it prevent my prodigy from honoring my efforts in battle.
We can honor the veteran who placed himself in harm’s way at the same time we correct the mistaken belief in the infallibility of a government, any government.
Just as we can honor the veterans of the Iraq War while agreeing our reasons for the invasion and occupation of that land were wrong. Dead wrong.
It’s the right thing to do!
(The Confederate flag flew for the last time at the South Carolina state grounds on July 10th when it was removed and placed in a museum following an order signed by the governor and passed by an overwhelming vote by the state senate and the legislature.)
(In addition, Mississippi became the last state in our nation to remove the Confederate emblem from its state flag in June, 2020.)