Monday, May 31, 2010

Gratitude Trumps Understanding

     The span of generations makes a difference on how you see war. My generation was the first to see war live and up close every day, every night in all forms of media. It was part of eating supper at night. Vietnam did not need as many movies as the prior wars; we saw it first hand, including the dead wheeled off the planes. How pronounced was the media’s impact upon our fear as young teens watching this event. We watched the lottery, called the draft, on TV wondering if "their" number would be drawn. We watched the social turmoil wrapped around it that divided a nation and made those returning, in whatever "shape" they were in, from where they were given no choice but to go, both celebrated and vilified. I will always remember the words of my mother’s friend from France describing World War II, “Anyone who has watched the tanks roll through your streets during an air raid, the city blacked out except for the light of missiles will never vote to go to war.”
     I do not understand war and perhaps Vietnam has made my generation skeptical, not to mention the camouflage uniforms hide the black and white hats. One message rings clear through all the skepticism, fear and lack of understanding-today someone stands or walks a perimeter alone, someone lies wounded in the dust of battle or a sterilized hospital bed, someone went through their final wishes with a loved one before being deployed, someone believed and stepped forward. And for every ‘someone’ there are many more in the comfort of their homes hoping to see them alive and well. Such sacrifice I do not know, I cannot imagine. The plowshares are still outnumbered by the guns and it is not safe for the sheep to lay down with the lions. And so today simple paragraphs to say until that time “God bless and keep them safe” and thank you.