I’ve joined Veterans for Peace as an associate member after reading their newsletter and seeing a presentation at the Sonoma County Peace and Justice center. No one struggles harder to keep their humanity than the soldiers, who by draft or choice, carry out the policies of governments who lie and deceive. My experience during the Vietnam era, my compassion for my former brother-in-law and others with post-traumatic stress disorder, and my study of the now-overt global domination intentions of a military-industrial-corp. media cabal require me to make the humble contribution of $25 to this organization.
I was impressed with vet Brian Wilson’s “Open Letter to John Kerry on Iraq” reminding his former comrade in Vietnam Veterans Against War of their fast on the steps of the Capitol in 1986 and Kerry’s articulate testimony before Congress upon return from that war. (You might remember Wilson being run over by a weapons train in Concord, CA –and losing both his legs–during a 1987 protest of U.S. military support of Central American dictators and CIA dirty wars).
I was moved by the “Arlington West” project of the Santa Barbara Veterans for Peace. Each Sunday they set up on the beach a small white cross for each American soldier killed in Iraq. A list of the names, cities of origin, age and circumstances of death of each soldier is kept at a table, with supplies so that passers-by can make a card and fasten it to a cross. Flowers and the intermittent playing of “Taps” are also part of this interactive scene. Imagine the power of tourists coming upon 800-plus white crosses in place of sand castles.
Both my brother and my father spent their military service in the medical corps, decisions I applaud them for. Unfortunately, my father saw plenty of WWII combat and came home with a Silver Star and a Purple Heart. He also came home with a blind right eye, a deaf right ear and much shrapnel still embedded in his body. Other daughters and sisters have not been as lucky as I was, and even those whose loved ones did return, found they were damaged beyond repair. The families suffered, some are still suffering, more than 30 years later
Take some time to check the following website: www.veteransforpeace.org and its links to other groups such as Military Families Speak Out and Vietnam Veterans Against the War.
I should know better than to promise poems. I just spent two hours writing an essay about my father, “Remembering the Blue Tango Man” which is too long to post here. After I run it through the gauntlet of my writing group, perhaps it will appear in the full-length manuscript I’m trying to have finished by July 29, my birthday!