In war, there are no unwounded soldiers.
Today is Veteran’s Day and I’d like to take a moment to express that I appreciate those who are, have been, and continue to be willing to protect the many freedoms we all too often take for granted. I abhor war but I also understand it’s place in this imperfect world and that at times it has been a necessity. However, I also believe that military might is an overused resource in our battle to make the world a better place.
I hesitated to write this today, on Veteran’s Day, because I didn’t want to be disrespectful or for it to seem as if I don’t understand or appreciate the sacrifices of our men and women in uniform. But it is precisely because I DO understand the sacrifices that I choose to speak up. No one should be asked to make such a sacrifice unless there is absolutely no other choice.
I read an amazing post today written by a man who belongs to Veteran’s for Peace. He had a lot to say about his experiences that led him to work with this organization. He speaks of the horrors of war in a poignant way that struck something within me and it was difficult for me to read parts of his essay. But what will stay with even more than the atrocities which motivate him are his words about working toward a solution to solving the world’s problems without violence:
…those who have experienced violence (in the home, in school, in organizations, in war) need to give expression to those experiences. They need to examine the causes, the pathologies, of violence and war. If we are to open ways to that elusive state we call Peace, we must understand and correct those causes of violence and war first.
Often those who dare suggest that peace should be the goal are accused of rolling over, of naivety, of cowardice. We are told that evil will take over the world while we do nothing. But this man, this organization, this MOVEMENT are not a call to inaction. This is a call to action BEFORE war becomes a necessity. This is a call to be pro-active, rather than reactive.
I don’t pretend, not for one second, to have all of the answers. I don’t pretend to know how to solve all of the social ills that lead to violence. But I do know that if we never seriously address these questions then more men and women will return to us with war wounds; wounds of the flesh and of the spirit. What we owe our veterans is more than lip-service gratitude; it is a commitment to work toward having fewer of them in the future.