Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Veteran's Day 2009
This Veteran's Day, I reflect on those in my family that served our country, friends who served and those in service now. Both my mother and father served in WWII. Mom joined the WACs, my father, the army. Mom stayed in the states, my father fought across the Pacific. I am one of those people who may exist only because the United States dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima. Only God knows if my father would have survived the invasion of Japan. Maybe I will deal with this life and death issue.
My mother's brother fought across Europe in WWII including the Battle of the Bulge. He never spoke of his experience except for one humorous aspect. My uncle had never learned to drive before he entered the army, yet one day he was told to drive a jeep from his unit to another. Rather than admit he could not drive, he jumped in and did his best. His best was good enough and he often was his unit's driver. In later years, I rode with my uncle. He was a terrifying driver then and always. Oddly, he rarely got tickets.
The only cousin older than me ( by six months) volunteered for the army during the Viet Nam War. A gentle boy, he came home an alcoholic, forever scarred by the war. Too many of my friends did not come home. One close friend volunteered for the nuclear navy when he found out he was slated to be drafted as soon as he graduated from college. He met Admiral Rickover and to my surprise became a career officer. One friend drafted after college made a name for himself by blowing up a missile in a silo (not his fault), but he was transferred to a desk job. Viet Nam marked my generation for good and ill.
A young cousin married a Marine many years after Viet Nam. A fine man he retired from the service to become a nurse. We had all thought he would stay beyond his minimum for retirement, but he told us that he simply grew weary of command ( he rose to the rank of Colonel) although not the Marines.
Now, no one in my family serves in the military, but the son of a friend is now a Marine. This is a boy raised by a single mother who had never been a tomboy. To me fell the glad task of teaching him odd skills from my tomboy childhood such as how to spin a wooden top or tricks with a yo-yo. On the flip side, I also introduced him to poetry. Now, he is stationed in the US, but scheduled to go to Afghanistan at the end of the year. For him, he cannot go soon enough. For thoze who care for him, we wait with apprehension.
Generations come and go, but still there is war. Did Constantine stain Christianity with violence when he made Christanity his empire's religion? Weren't Christians destined to bring peace? I do not know the answer. All I know is I will pray for my young friend as he goes to war. I will honor those that came before. I will pray that a path to peace for all will be found, so that someday, there will be no more veterans.
Photo by Beverlykahuna