Being a Buddhist on Veteran’s Day

I’ve had several interesting conversations on Twitter and Facebook today about my discomfort with the way we celebrate Veteran’s Day here in the United States. This is exacerbated by the fact that the UNC men’s basketball team is playing their thrilling season opener against Michigan State tonight on an aircraft carrier in honor of Veteran’s Day. I’ve been looking forward to this game for months, and yet so much of the hoopla around it is wrapped in a flag and holding a gun. This really comes home when I think about how it will feel to watch this with Izzy. It’s the first time we’ll really be watching basketball together as a family, something I have anticipated since he was born just days before UNC won the national championship in 2009.

Coach Roy Williams said about this game “To me, it’s a way of honoring our military. That’s what it boils down to.” I’m left wondering if I’m still allowed to enjoy the game even though I’m pacifist. I’m not opposed to their service, but I don’t really want to honor it any more than I do teachers, civil rights activists, peace corps members, doctors without borders, and so many others that also make sacrifices to benefit the global community.

Here are some excerpts of the conversation on Facebook (Twitter has been, well, less productive):


Ruby: Trying to balance my excitement about watching UNC basketball tonight with my revulsion at the showbiz celebration of government-trained killers in the “Carrier Classic.”

Let’s just play some good basketball and try to ignore the camo-themed uniforms.