I am a non-combatant. I was, in a sense, fortunate not to be drafted into the conflict in Vietnam, yet, now I have learned we all live with the scars. Through the years I have known many friends who served.
I have a friend named Sam, who years ago told me a story of lying in the dark all night, surrounded by the enemy, where he and his buddies held on to each other, wrapped in each others arms, until the sun came up. At the same time I met Brian, who in an ambush while riding in an APC filled his untied boots with hot spent casings from a machine gun, never feeling the burns on his ankle’s until the firefight was over. There is Tommy, who would have died with several others, in his first weeks in country, except for a veteran of combat who told him to take another path into the jungle that day. There is my best friend at work who lost his nephew to a sniper in Baghdad, or my good friend Mike who got his son back from Iraq uninjured physically, but struggled for years to regain the son he raised.
I recently found Claude Anshin Thomas’ book – At Hells Gate – which I now consider required reading for everyone – for all of us, for we all are the wounded generation. We all carry the scars of war, we are all responsible, whether we fight, or not, we must all know these stories in order to break this culture of violence.
Black Elk, the Lakota Medicine Man is known to have said “We must invite the widows to the war parties, in order for us to know the consequences of losing a husband, or a son”. We can no longer afford to deny that violence, that war damages us all.
Thank you to all who have served, I continue to pray for a new generation to bring peace …
Peter Anthony – (grandfathersky)
Link to: Dust Off