On Veterans Day, NPL Asks Service Members a Question

When You Read About War, What do You Think?

What does war mean to us?

Since 1776, our country has been involved in 29 armed conflicts where America’s Armed Forces played an active role. The Department of Veterans Affairs estimates that nearly 45 million people have served in the U.S. military since the birth of our nation.

That’s a lot of people and a lot of fighting, but how do we feel about war? Is war a glorious pursuit that we should be proud to take part in; a horrible stain on humanity from which nothing good emerges; or a terrible but necessary effort we must undertake to protect our way of life? 

Is there only one right answer?

If you want to understand something, it’s best to start with the people who have firsthand experience. Nashville Public Library (NPL) is honored to count a number of veterans among our fantastic team of employees. They come from all walks of life, having served in times of both peace and war. If there’s anyone who might help us better understand the fighting our country has endured, it’s them.

Words can’t possibly express the depth of appreciation we have for our veterans. They’ve put themselves in harm’s way, giving up many of their freedoms so we can enjoy ours. And now, they continue working tirelessly to enrich the lives of the people of Nashville. 

This Veterans Day, we’d like to say thank you to our veterans the best way that NPL can — by trying to better understand them.

Ed Brown

Marketing and Communications

Ed Brown, Army, 2010 - 2018

Thomas Hammons

Technology Services

Thomas Hammon, Navy, 1990-2010

Connor Miller

Safety and Security

Connor Miller, Army, 2014 - Present

Lavelle Miller

Safety and Security

Lavelle Miller, Army, 2012 - 2014

Chris Morin

Manager - Donelson Branch

Chris Morin, Army, 1983 - 1999

Danny Oliver

Digital Inclusion

Danny Oliver, 1972 - 1974



CharleMagne is quoted as saying “ if you have a beautiful wife and a fortress on the frontier, you’d better be willing to fight.”

What today’s liberals don’t get, is that we have been willing to fight to preserve our home (fortress) and our beautiful freedom (wife), even as it includes the freedom of all. that we have been willing to fight for.

I think war waged by democratic countries is the ultimate expression of failed diplomacy. War, by non-democratic countries, is the destructive force of selfishness by despots who do not value our most precious gift...life.

When I think about war, it occurs to me that most Americans have no idea what it is. I hear politicians and others blustering all the time about how "we" should go bomb this country or those people, and it strikes me that their bluster is so uninformed. War should never, ever be taken lightly. It should never be used as a political pawn or a stunt. It is weighty, life-altering, and perilous. It has long-term consequences. It should be used only as a last resort, and only when it gives us our best opportunity for peace in the long term.

Some say violence doesn't solve anything. I would refer those to the reprehensible figures from history, to whom, the application of violence solved a lot of problems they fomented. Reference Adolf Hitler as a starting point.

somebody is getting rich - somebody is getting dead!

I makes me sad; what we ask of them. It makes me mad; what they ask of us.

When I read about war, I think about how terrible a price it extracts from those involved on both sides. It brings death and destruction, pain and injuries that last for years past the end of hostilities. I think about those who fight; the soldiers who are, like I was ready to be, sent into harms way, some to return in a coffin, some maimed and injured, most to return changed by the experience. I think about the political leaders who decide to wage war, and pray that they will count the cost in human lives before doing so.

Being a student of military history and war, I found all these comments to be a profound statement of individual beliefs in what makes us great. Humanity, Camaraderie, Honor, Sacrifice, Courage and Commitment. All these are a necessary component of warfare. In the 5,000 years of recorded history, humanity has enjoyed only 700 years of peace. However, there are times we must protect our way of life, we must protect humanity from evil, we must honor our word to our allies. Yes, it's hard and sad and traumatic, but it must be done. We should honor and respect those who stood in harms way for us as a nation. I have known those who loved it, those who hated it and those who were damaged by it. Each have a place and a voice to be heard. Some of the most interesting conversations I've had are with those who easily run to the gunfire. There are not the words to express thanks to all our veterans. Godspeed to you all.

Wouldn't it be great to return to the time when Kings went with their armies to do battle? If the person starting it had to wage it....the world might be a more peaceful place. ;-)

Let's make sure we agree on one thing in 2019 -- war is the necessary conclusion of the Military Industrial Complex, which U.S. leaders could not be more "okay" with. On top of our extraordinary federal spending with weapon-making companies such as Boeing and McDonnell/Douglas, We have enough nukes to blow the entire planet up 20 times over. So, war is not a matter of if, but when. We can wax eloquent and sound forlorn at the ways of the world, but the U.S.A. is the greatest believer in destruction of its fellow man that this planet has. Good grief.

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