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Isn't Peace Worth It?
Before the Sun Sets I...
A Shift in Perspective
Much of the subject matter about which I choose to write confirms a value I hold dear to my heart. I was raised to appreciate the sanctity of life. Now, I know much has changed about living in the last 60 years, but I hold out hope that living a long, enriched, abundant and fruitful life will remain a mainstay of the human culture.
Over the past 15 years I've grown to become apolitical, though as a young man I was inundated with conditioned and practiced viewpoints because of family political ties. Like so many of my friends, I followed the family and cultural lines of thinking. I was a teenager growing up in the Vietnam War era, seeing and hearing many of the stories that emerged to shape my generation and those that followed. Though I have practiced since then to stay in the present, the memories of that time, as well as those of my subsequent military service, have remained to help guide my perspective.
As time passed and my own life experiences replaced and reshaped my viewpoints and opinions I began to sense an erosion of the value of life. I know I'm not alone here, and that sometimes makes it even more scary. Are we so comfortable with violence that we will continue to send our young men and women into harms way, to watch from the sidelines, so to speak, for virtually any reason? I know I don't possess the power to change anyone's mind, nor do I want that power, but I can change mine! I have come to the conclusion that I can longer support a position of procuring peace by participating in war or condoning violence of any kind.
A Little Help From My Friends
A friend of mine posted the You Tube clip "Remember Me" below on Facebook and indicated that her step-son's military funeral was a part of that video. The intent of the video was to honor our service men and women. Almost immediately, it touched the depths of my heart and seemed to quicken all that I had seen, heard, learned and felt over the years. As I looked into the faces of those who had lost loved ones, whose lives were inextricably changed for ever, I felt that somehow, in my former political "peace at all costs" ideology, I had contributed to their suffering.
I realize that no one consciously believes anger, violence or war is pleasant but, when I view the effects on our families, on our soldiers and on our nation's spirit as a whole, I question the price we are paying. We may gain peace, if we can call it that, but we are offering up the greatest and most precious resources we have...our young men and women, their lives, their limbs and their blood.
I have watched my own step son and the families of some of his closest friends be tormented by the grief pressed upon them by their service to our country. I have imagined the loneliness of not knowing what to say to a father, mother, sister, brother who has lost a loved one for the sake of duty. And I have tried to help young men returning from the throws of war with the internal scars that only they can know and we can only experience through the pain they can share. Sometimes, it is almost too much to bare, for them and for me.
A Silver Lining - Something You Can Do
Honoring America's Finest
After viewing this video I realized that there was something I could do, right now, to help heal those who are hurt by the current state of our world and I'm doing it here. I am asking each of my friends and family to reach out to our children and love them. I am asking my friends and family not to take each other for granted and to recognize the irreplaceable value of each life on this planet. I am asking my friends and family to envision a world where our young people are raised to know and appreciate each other so much that taking a life would be too repugnant to consider. I am asking my friends and family to love and nurture every human being with whom they come into contact regardless of their positions, politics or cultural views. But, most of all, I am asking my friends, family and the world to honor those who have already given all of themselves by intending that not one more will be lost, that not one more family will have to suffer the heartbreak that their son, daughter, father, mother, sister, brother, aunt, uncle, friend, fiance or even foe will not be returning home because we couldn't find a way to agree on an alternative.
Please, honor our fallen and support our returning soldiers with a decision to love beyond our capacity, whenever and wherever possible, so we can spend more of our moments joyfully with them and less of our moments in sorrow without them! Please think it is possible! Please?