Public reaction to military personnel has varied drastically over the years.
During World War 1, 2 and the Korean War, servicemen and women were treated with respect and honor for serving their country and fighting for freedom.
During the Vietnam War, that all changed and many Americans looked down and ridiculed our military personnel. They believed it was a war that we should not have been involved in and rather than take their frustrations and protests out on the politicians who got us involved and kept us involved, they turned their anger to America’s military troops.
When Desert Storm took place, America had regained a sense of patriotism and military pride and once again they respected and honored those who served. Soldiers were greeted at airports with cheers and dozens of American flags being waved by proud Americans.
Since our wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, much of that pride and patriotism is still there. I’ve seen people shake the hands of passing military personnel and thank them for their service. I have done it myself and will continue to do so.
However, there is a growing number of people in this country who no longer condone our efforts in fighting terrorism and like what happened during Vietnam, they are taking it out on servicemen and women. This happened to an Army captain who was wearing his fatigues while shopping at a Wal-Mart store in Albany, New York last Thursday.
As he was standing in the checkout line, 47 year old Yiqiang Wu began cursing and yelling at the captain. His statements were against the captain’s military service and against the United States in general. The altercation escalated when Wu began punching the captain in the face. The incident was caught on the store’s security camera:
On Friday, Wu was arrested and charged with third degree assault as a hate crime. He was later released on $5,000 bail. The Army captain involved has not been named as yet and perhaps that is best. Wu’s assault wasn’t against the captain personally, but against the military and the US.
The First Amendment gives Wu the right to free speech, but not the right to turn that speech into a physical assault. If he is so unhappy with the United States and our military, then my suggestion would be for him to find another country and military that he likes better and move his anti-American behind there.