To All Our Veterans, Thank you.
In Hollywood Endings and How to Get One I describe a way to use awareness to create a different future, one we direct ourselves. I hope, as human beings gaining awareness, we recognize war is hell, and begin to direct a movie with a different ending.
Today is November 11th, Veteran’s Day. Chosen after WWI to honor veterans who fought in the war to end all wars. But it wasn’t, was it?
I got to thinking about the movie SAVING PRIVATE RYAN and WWII. My father fought in the war and was at Anzio Beach. I began to think of the motto the greatest generation. I do believe my parent’s generation earned that reputation. Men raced to the enlistment centers to join the fight against tyranny, oppression, and annihilation. America didn’t complain about doing without because we felt we were all in this together, doing our part. Women filled in wherever needed and learned to do the jobs successfully. We were a country united. And yet, there is a high price to pay for war, any war. Especially on civilians. Especially on families. When my father returned from the war, his father said, “There’s something wrong with Sonny.” My parents were divorced a few years later. I was six months old. I never knew my father.
Viet Nam was the war of my generation. Kids graduated from high school and got drafted. Many were killed. Disillusionment set in. The Country was rage-filled and strongly divided. Returning soldiers were demonized by their peers. These kids were victimized twice over. Mental health went downhill. My generation became parents, often without processing the rage, heartache, and betrayal they felt.
I don’t know much about the Korean War. I know it was a bloody siege and many soldiers, civilians and children paid a high price.
The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were long and brutal. So much destruction, so many lives lost, so many injured young people. We have gotten very good at replacing limbs, with many being able to live full and complete lives. We have less success with traumatic brain injuries. So many returning vets with a changed personality (There’s something wrong with Sonny) or lack of cognitive functions. Service people give up a lot to serve their country. Thank you. So do the families who support them. Thank you all. Bless you all.
War is hell. There is invasion, barbarism, plunder, and enslavement (and usually rape). No one wins, they just lose less. It reminds me of lines from a poem.
Since the dawn of time, the story’s the same
People invade, destroy and enslave.
When we don’t learn from times gone by
We repeat the pattern and human beings die.
Natives were here, stewards of the land
Whites came over, Destiny’s hand?
Blacks were torn from their native shore
Railroad connects, life’s changed forever more.
It’s an ugly history, that is a fact.
It’s our human history, can’t take it back.
Technology’s pushing us lightspeed through space
Heal the past, win humanity’s race.
War is hell. The Revolutionary War. We may romanticize it since it was the fight for independence, but it was still brutal. The Civil War. Fighting for human rights but also for an economic way of life. It tore families apart. Literally sometimes, brother fighting brother. It’s ugly, but it’s our history.
I live in a place where towns have the names of Shakopee, Wacouta, and Wabasha. These are not just towns they are the historical names of Dakota Chiefs. In 1862, fed up with being swindled, lied to, cheated and starved, Native Americans went to war with the white settlers. War is hell. Minnesota settlers were killed or fled the area. The killings turned cruel and barbaric. Many Indians responsible fled west. More innocent Indians surrendered and 39 were hung for the crimes of others. Once gold was discovered in the Black Hills, there was no stopping the flood of settlers or prospectors (in violation of a treaty). The Prairie Wars continued with the Little Big Horn and the US Calvary got revenge with their own cruel and barbaric killings at Sand Creek and Wounded Knee. Like I said, it’s an ugly history. Both sides were fighting for their culture and their way of life.
War is hell. The loss is overwhelming. There is a book by Roy Beaumeister called Deconstructing Evil. One of the concepts that perpetuates violence is WE/THEY thinking. It’s us against them.
When we fall into this way of thinking (and then believing), we open the door to doing evil things: cruelty, barbarianism, and annihilation. Technology’s pushing us lightspeed through space. Heal the past, win humanity’s race.