Monday, May 25, 2009

Letters From Home – Memorial Day 2009

While the majority of Americans enjoy a three-day weekend, I work – radio stops for no one, accept for the random “Act of God – Mother Nature.” It’s not a three day vacation most of our nation’s (or any nation’s) armed servicemen.

Those who know me even the smallest amount, know I am pretty much against war. It doesn’t mean I don’t know that at times war is a necessary evil – WWII is the perfect example. But while we were helping one people we were doing harm to some of our own through prejudice and fear.

"The only thing we have to fear is fear it'self - nameless, unreasoning, unjustified, terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance." FDR upon his first inauguration.

I am not the only Quaker who thinks this way, not the only American, not the only human. But I do honor our veterans, those who have joined our armed forces for whatever belief, reason, or cause. I honor you. I honor your memory. I honor the comforts and loves you left behind to do what you thought what right. I honor you.

My father served. My brothers have both served; the youngest will retire after twenty plus years of service to the Air Force – all over the world, in two years. My father joined to escape a nowhere life of poverty and violence. My younger brother, well I’m not sure why he joined. And my youngest brother found a world wide traveling life that has taken him to the highest ranks of the enlisted. For whatever reason they joined, had war called I’m sure they would have done what they signed up to do. I know Buddy has. I honor him.

This morning I play songs that honor the sacrifices of our soldiers, citizen soldiers, those who give what I haven’t.

Letters From Home – John Michael Montgomery

I hold it up and show my buddies,
Like we ain’t scared and our boots ain’t muddy, and they all laugh,
Like there’s something funny bout’ the way I talk,
When I say: "Mama sends her best y’all"
I fold it up an' put it in my shirt,
Pick up my gun an' get back to work
An' it keeps me driving me on,
Waiting on letters from home.
written by: David Lee and Tony Lane

Florence has erected a Veteran’s Memorial Wall in the new Veteran’s Memorial Park on the Siuslaw River. It is simple, even stark, and somehow peaceful. My mom, Ducky and I have purchased three bricks to honor my father and bros.

This weekend I took Burp down where he made etchings of each brick Furby brick and one that was purchased in the memory of his other great grandfather, who until that moment I’d not known had served in India. Hmmm. We took an extra moment to remember my father and discuss a story of his from his stint in Panama. Now Burp wants to go see a Panther.

Having lived during the Viet Nam era I remember the revulsion that greeted our veterans when they returned answering a call from our country’s leaders. I am heart broke at the hatred they found upon their return home. I mourn the loss of all that they were. I revile the old men who sat cozy in their air-conditioned offices, thousands of miles away from harm, making decisions that kept then safe while sending tens of thousands of men and women to their deaths for oil and greed.

We have met the enemy, and he is us.” Pogo

I sincerely hope we have learned lessons by revisiting our own personal history. I hope that despite what our personal beliefs we honor our veterans.

To those who serve,
Thank you,