Our Veterans Are Diverse, Remember That Diversity

Today is Veterans Day, and while some have chosen to slam Google for being too inclusive (because their search engine artwork is not predominately “white”), we should consider how terribly misleading an accusation like that really is.

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Did you know that, for example, Arab Americans who have served are classified as caucasian?

There are almost 22 million veterans in the United States. What else don’t you know about them?

Honoring those who’ve served their country today, it shouldn’t be surprising that in a diverse country like the United States, our veterans are diverse too. We should take a moment to remember all veterans throughout our nation’s history today and embrace the different types of people who have come to serve our country over time.

Although not extensive, here are some articles that reflect on ethnic and racial diversity of American service members.

And, I apologize for not being able to be inclusive enough: for not including all ethnicities, religions, genders, backgrounds and more in honoring those who have served the United States and continue to serve every day. #VeteransSalute

  • Arab Americans Reflect on US Military Service by Ray Hanania. It is estimated that nearly 14,000 Arab Americans served in World War I, and as many as 15,000 served in World War II. Many more later served in the Korean and Vietnam wars. Ray Hanania, a Vietnam veteran, wrote an article about U.S. soldiers of Arab origin for Al Jazeera. In it, he recounts that his his brother was a US Marine and his father George and Uncle Moussa served during World War II, enlisting after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Hanania also highlights the service of two other veterans who came from American military families, and who also happen to be Arab.
  • African American Veterans: Fighting Two Battles from The Library of Congress. For many veterans, serving in the military meant pushing past their own physical and mental limits in order to defeat the enemy. Many African American veterans also had to contend with and break through the limits placed upon them by society. Whether they fought stateside or overseas, in integrated or segregated units, or during World War II, Korea, or Vietnam, the African American veterans profiled here persisted past prejudice to serve their country with honor.
  • Fighting for the Dream: Voices of Chinese American Veterans from World War II to Afghanistan by Victoria Moy is a collection of oral histories of 40 Chinese American men and women—ages 24 to 94—who served in wars from World War II to conflicts in Afghanistan. These individuals defied boundaries, went against their cultural grain, and changed history. Through their personal stories, we see a greater tapestry that is the story of America in the last hundred years, from the lens of Chinese Americans who served. We see also how wars affected Chinese American communities.
  • Saluting Muslim American Patriots by Craig Considine. The history of Muslim Americans serving in the U.S. military challenges the widespread skepticism that Americans have for those who follow Islam.
  • Experiencing War: Hispanic American Veterans from The Library of Congress. Asked to serve their country in time of war, Hispanic Americans displayed loyalty, bravery, and persistence in the face of adversity. Some, especially those of the World War II generation, were familiar with discrimination back home but saw their service as affirming the ideals of democracy. From Charles Rodriguez, who fought with Merrill’s Marauders in WWII Burma, to Jose Mares, a teenager who survived incredible hardship as a POW during the Korean War, here are nine inspirational stories from the archives of the Library of Congress Veterans History Project.
  • By The Numbers: Women in the US Military from CNN. More than 200,000 women are in the active-duty military, including 69 generals and admirals. A look at women in the military, according to Pentagon figures.

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