Friday, November 11, 2011

Veterans Day

I'm headed to a Veterans Day Service tonight.

Several years ago, this never would have been something I'd have done.

But when your child signs up for military service... that changes everything.

I found this pin when he was deployed in Kuwait and Iraq and, while I have his picture in it, I can't help but think of all the other mothers who have sent their children off to foreign places -to protect, to fight and to die - for far too many decades.

So, I'll go to church tonight to pray and give Thanks for the soldiers of our country, past and present, but I'll also pray that there will be a time for peace - soon and very soon.

To generalize about war is like generalizing about peace.
Almost everything is true. Almost nothing is true.

At its core, perhaps, war is just another name for death, and yet any solider will tell you, if he tells the truth, that proximity to death brings with it a corresponding proximity to life.
After a firefight, there is always the immense pleasure of aliveness. The trees are alive. The grass, the soil- everything.
All around you things are purely living, and you among them, and the aliveness makes you tremble.
You feel an intense, out-of-skin awareness of your living self - your truest self, the human being you want to be and then become by the force of wanting it.
In the midst of evil you want to be a good man.
You want decency. You want justice and courtesy and human concord, things you never knew you wanted.
There is a kind of largeness to it, a kind of godliness.
Though it's odd, you're never more alive than when you're almost dead.
You recognize what's valuable.
Freshly, as if for the first time, you love what's best in yourself and in the world, all that might be lost.
At the hour of dusk you sit at your foxhole and look out on a wide river turning pinkish red, and at the mountains beyond, and although in the morning you must cross the river and go into the mountains and do terrible things and maybe die, even so, you find yourself studying the fine colors on the river, you feel wonder and awe at the setting of the sun, and you are filled with a hard, aching love for how the world could be and always should be, but now is not.

Tim O'Brien
The Things They Carried.

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