Monday, May 26, 2008

Too Much to Ask?

A good friend and reader sent this today. He is a veteran of the Vietnam conflict, once falling from a medivac helicopter face first into a rice paddy. He had plenty of time to think about things there before his miraculous recovery.

"The Citizen Soldier has been part of this country since it started. We have a call to arms and the men come forth to defend the land. Through out our history we have sent soldiers to war for many reasons.

"Soldiers have a responsibility to defend their country, and it is our responsibility as citizens to heal those who have put their lives on the line for us, even if they fought a war for the wrong reasons or for lies. As Tennyson said, 'Theirs is not to reason why, theirs is but to do and die.' And we are not doing that."

It is not enough to bring the boys home, because they aren't boys anymore, and getting them home physically does not do it. We need to help them heal and help them deal with their burden.
Healing has to happen at the deepest level of the mind, heart, and soul. We need public apologies, public confessions, and public grief for all that we have done to our veterans, to other nations, and to the earth.

To get off the suicidal path we are on, we have to feel the pain that we are in, that the Earth is in, that our communities are in. We can no longer stand by and ignore the facts.
So as Edward Tick says, "We pathologize everything. If a soldier comes home nuts we think we can cure him with a pill.

Americans have a profound alienation toward our warriors. The civilian class and warrior class have nothing to do with each other. In fact we don't even think that we have a warrior class and we teach that to our society. Never mind Annapolis and West Point.

The American veterans get honored when they are serving, to keep up the patrotic fervor, but when the war is done they are forgotten. The fighters of WWI were ignored and had to march on Washington to get any recognition at all and then they were attacked by "the army" led by none other than Douglas MacArthur. Some of the veterans were gunned down.

Only after WWII did the veterans get a reward for their service and were they honored. Veterans Day used to be called Armistice Day which held a scared meaning. Today, Veterans Day is full of speeches and parades and fireworks. Memorial Day is on us again.

Now once again there are rumblings of a new GI Bill to help the returned veterans. A bill that our president who quit playing golf to honor the soldiers serving thinks is too expensive. Nothing is too expensive to honor or help out a man or woman who put themselves in harms way. Is a college education too much to ask for a soldier who lost an eye or a leg?

Is it too much to ask for a good veterans administration with great medical care?"
Is a 10 cent flag the best we can do?



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello Susan,

I wish people all over the world prefered to sing peace and love songs, instead of singing war songs. I also wish they read peace and love poems instead of reading war march. As you said, "Do not forget in peace times to teach the children..."

Ali F. Bilir

4:44 PM  

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