Dr. Warren J. Blumenfeld, editor of “Homophobia: How We All Pay the Price” and co-editor of “Readings for Diversity and Social Justice,” shares an anecdote at LGBTQ Nation about how he found himself behind a military veteran at the veterinarian’s office and noted how the veteran was given a discount because of his service to the nation.

That got Blumenfeld thinking about the word “veteran” and how it’s unfortunately tied to the military and nasty military things like wars. Isn’t it time to expand the definition of veteran to include those who advocate for change through peace?

He writes:

It is unacceptable when one’s love of country is called into question when advocating for peaceful means of conflict resolution. It is also an act of patriotism to keep our brave troops out of harm’s way, and to work to create conditions and understanding that ultimately make war less likely.

To be clear, I am not arguing that everyone be granted retail discounts by expanding our classification of “veteran,” or even that others acknowledge us for our service in working for a better and more just society.

But take a few moments to consider those fighting a cultural and figurative civil war to reduce the violence and injustice and place the United States in higher standing around the world.

So how about it? Should we expand the definition of veteran to include those “advocating for justice, freedom, and liberty through peaceful means”?


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