It's a short ceremony, long on Navy and military tradition. The cannon, the folding and the salutes show allegiance to the flag and to our nation; not to elected leaders. These young men and women (I can't call them kids, they ceased being kids once they became protectors of our country) serve our country, and they serve proudly and humbly. I had the opportunity to say "thank you" to a female sailor, and she shyly acknowledged my thanks. I also then offered my thanks to the members of my own family who served in the military, my dad, my uncles Richard and Alfred who served in the Army during Korea. My uncle Jake and cousin David served in Vietnam - David earned three purple hearts there. My cousin Bridger is a Captain in the Marine Corps where he flies an AV-8B Harrier. My wife's uncle Thomas flew bombers in World War II and was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Air Medal. Her dad, who passed away just a few days ago, was in the Air Force during the Korean War.
When asked each would talk a little about their experiences in the military. Most often they would talk about funny stories from basic training or the characters they met along the way. They would never talk about war. David told me about the injuries that earned him is Purple Hearts, but not about the events. That part of war is saved for the warriors. The lay person could never understand what the warriors have gone through. So-called experts can discuss it and evaluate, but until they live it, they have no "street cred."
We owe our veterans more than a day. We owe them more than a few points on a civil service examination or benefits through the VA or the GI Bill. They volunteered, or were drafted, to protect us. They took an oath to obey the orders given by those appointed above them. When their service is done, the least we can to is to make sure they are returned to their loved ones in the same condition that they left. That isn't happening. Too many are slipping through the cracks with serious issues and it needs to stop. They deserve better. We as a country are better than that.
Our military doesn't decide when to go to war, the politicians do that. Orders are generated by elected or appointed officials and filter down through the ranks. You want to hate the war, hate the war. Don't hate the warriors.