To the Editor:
I am worried about my country and my community.
I am a twice deployed Afghan war veteran and the son of a Gulf War veteran. Like many of my fellow Americans, I watched in horror as a member of the police, sworn to protect and serve, murdered George Floyd by kneeling on his neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds. However, the heartbreak continued as I watched my country’s president decide to use the military against our own people.
In the military community, we take our oath seriously to defend the Constitution from all enemies foreign and domestic. This president has chosen to make the American people the enemy. I am proud to stand with Gen. Mattis, Adm. Mullen, Adm. McRaven, Gen. Dempsey, Gen. Thomas and all the military leaders who have come out to take a stand against this president’s abuses of power and the threat he presents to our democracy.
I fought in the army because I believed in our Constitution. I believe in our shared American values. In these tumultuous times, I am proud to see so many of my fellow Americans showing these values by taking to the streets and exercising their First Amendment rights for peaceful protests despite this president’s attempt to intimidate and threaten the population with the deployment of active duty troops. These streets are our streets. They should never be treated as a battlespace. Its citizens should never be treated as enemy combatants.
I am thankful that here in Murfreesboro, there was a multiracial, multigenerational coalition which took to the streets to fight for justice for Mr. Floyd and for the many people who have been the victims of police brutality. Now I turn to my elected officials here in Murfreesboro and my neighbors to say: What are we going to do to show that black lives matter too?
Spc. Braden Wells
Fmr. Army 4/2 SBCT, 2-1 CAV, 45th MICO