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A Marine Veteran’s Open Letter To Peter Berg On The Caitlyn Jenner Controversy
This week, director Peter Berg --- known for Friday Night Lights, Battleship, and Lone Survivor --- posted on Instagram criticizing ESPN for awarding Caitlyn Jenner with the Arthur Ashe Courage award instead of a disabled veteran. As a Marine veteran, I have some thoughts.
First, I’m a huge fan of Friday Night Lights. Lone Survivor was also a pretty good flick. And that won’t change because of one really dumb Instagram post.
A photo posted by Peter Berg (@pberg44) on
Also, the reason no one watched Battleship is because it was a pretty terrible movie. I tried to watch it on a flight once, but decided it was rather less painful to just listen to crying kids and have my knee slammed repeatedly by the drink cart. I just couldn’t make it through that film, so I’m pretty sure the reason it did so terribly had nothing to do with our country’s appetite for military-related stories. I’m really not sure how the same person who made Battleship also made Friday Night Lights.
Anyways, I’m not a film critic and that’s not the reason I’m writing to you. I’m writing because there is a dangerous narrative, a sense of entitlement, in our veterans community.
Fortunately, there are some really terrific veterans challenging that narrative. Like these wicked funny Marines, this other funny Marine, and this anonymous warrior over at Havok journal eloquently remind us.
We don’t have a monopoly on courage. And yes, Caitlyn Jenner is incredibly courageous.
I also find it a bit disingenuous that someone who made millions off a blockbuster about heroes would then turn around and say we don’t celebrate our military heroes enough in this country. That’s total bullshit. An annual Gallup poll consistently ranks the military as the most respected institution in America. And if you’ve been to any sports game recently, I guarantee an orgy (even when Uncle Sam is paying for it) of military affection.
The truth is, I am damn proud that I fought for a country where Caitlyn Jenner can choose to be who she is.
As Jenner, whose father landed on Omaha Beach in World War II, said in her speech accepting the Arthur Ashe Courage Award: “It’s not just about me. It’s about all of us accepting one another … If someone wanted to bully me, well, you know what? I was the MVP of the football team. That wasn’t going to be a problem. And the same thing goes tonight. If you want to call me names, make jokes, doubt my intentions, go ahead, because the reality is I can take it. But for the thousands of kids out there who are coming to terms with being true to who they are, they shouldn’t have to take it.”
You later posted to Instagram again and said you wanted to raise awareness about veterans suicide. “I have the utmost respect for Caitlyn Jenner and I am a strong supporter of equality and the rights of trans people everywhere,” you wrote. “I also believe that we don't give enough attention to our courageous returning war veterans, many of whom have sacrificed their bodies and mental health for our country and our principals- principles that include the freedom to live the life you want to live without persecution or abuse.”
In Jenner’s spirit, we have to do this together. Suicide and mental health issues harm the military community, to be sure; but there’s also a staggeringly high suicide rate in the transgender community. Comments like yours divide us where we should and need to be united.
To me, using our sacrifices to insult her, and to hurt thousands of young people across our country, is incredibly insulting to us. Coach Taylor would be disappointed.
Military veterans from throughout Northeast Florida came together Saturday morning to honor comrades in arms who were prisoners of war or missing in action, and remember their sacrifice.
After the plane landed, Pope Army Airfield was silent on Saturday.
A chaplain prayed and a family member sobbed.
Tarah McLaughlin's fingers traced her husband's flag-draped coffin before she pressed two fingers to her lips then pressed her fingers to the coffin.
The remains of Staff Sgt. Ian McLaughlin, 29, of Newport News, Virginia, arrived back to Fort Bragg a week after he was killed Jan. 11 by an improvised explosive device in Afghanistan.
Pfc. Miguel Angel Villalon, 21, of Joliet, Illinois, also was killed in the same incident.
The U.S. Space Force has a name tape for uniforms now. Get excited people.
In a tweet from its official account, the Space Force said its uniform name tapes have "touched down in the Pentagon," sharing a photo of it on the chest of Gen. John W. Raymond, the newly-minted Chief of Space Operations for the new service branch nested in the Department of the Air Force.
PALM BEACH, Fla. (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump gave a minute-to-minute account of the U.S. drone strikes that killed Iranian military commander Qassem Soleimani in remarks to a Republican fund-raising dinner on Friday night, according to audio obtained by CNN.
With his typical dramatic flourish, Trump recounted the scene as he monitored the strikes from the White House Situation Room when Soleimani was killed.
The U.S. Navy will name its fourth Ford-class aircraft carrier after Doris Miller, an iconic World War II sailor recognized for his heroism during the Pearl Harbor attack, according to reports in The Honolulu Star-Advertiser and U.S. Naval Institute News.
Acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly is expected to announce the naming of CVN-81 during a ceremony on Monday in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, according to USNI. Two of Miller's nieces are expected to be there, according to the Star-Advertiser.