Guest column: Military personnel should be honored

America’s current generation is not as patriotic as their predecessors, writes Bob Ziel.

When President Donald Trump recommended that we hold military parades around the country on July 4 or some other patriotic holiday, he was met with a verbal firestorm of criticism from many.


As a kid growing up in New York City and suburban Long Island, I have many fond memories of witnessing military parades. World War II and Korean War soldiers, sailors and airmen proudly marched along the main thoroughfare in my hometown of Huntington. There were sharp looking military and local high school bands playing patriotic songs.

Even as a young pint-sized toddler, which I was at that time in history, I understood the significance of the parades.

Sadly, military marches are no longer fashionable or in vogue with many Americans today as they were in the fifties, sixties, seventies and even up to a decade ago.

I have to ask: “Why shouldn’t we appreciate our heroic men and women on active duty today and veterans who have served our country in the past?”

Many have the mistaken idea that military parades today are used to show off our ultra powerful military hardware, particularly ICBMs (Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles), which are capable of utter destruction over a wide area when armed with nuclear weapons.

We are not North Korea, thank goodness, where that country’s brutal dictator, Kim Jong-un, proudly displays his country’s extreme weaponry. This is an example of propaganda at its worst. North Korea’s display of ICBMs is certainly not comforting to us. Someday we might become embroiled in a nuclear exchange, a cold, hard reality that we’ll have to face as a contemporary civilization.

Rather, we should be honoring our military in a reasonable fashion with displays of smaller non-weapons of mass destruction, which would be appropriate, and free of excessive propaganda.

Today, it’s trendy and fashionable to hold parades for the LBGT crowd, gay rights, immigrants, plus advocates of various ethnic groups. As far as I’m concerned, that’s fine since many of their civil rights are long overdue.

Another question to ask is: “Why should military personnel not be honored for their brave service to our country?”

Sadly, patriotism is becoming antiquated and passé nationally when respect and endearment of our country should still be an integral part of society.

Fortunately, most Idahoans across our great state are patriotic combined with a healthy sense of skepticism when government becomes out of line.

Politics aside, President Donald Trump deserves praise for the long overdue upgrade of our military, and for his recognition of our fine men and women who are protecting us from foreign adversaries.

Ziel is a Navy Vietnam Veteran who served as a photographer aboard the Amphibious Assault Carrier U.S.S. Tripoli (LPH-10) for over three years. He’s happily retired, and lives in Rigby.