Words from a Veteran in honor of Veteran's Day
From here and here...
Veterans Day arrives every year like a hand grenade that has been rolling around the floorboard of my life for months. My earliest memories of the day go back to my father’s military service, back when he wore the uniform of a US Navy hospital corpsman.THIS will also break your heart.
My father, I suspect, was a victim of post-traumatic stress syndrome. If not that, he was a least clinically depressed. Not because he was shot in the leg during the Korean War, but because of the hundreds of Marines he watched die on the battlefield. As a corpsman, he spent more time than anyone should spend in blood up to his elbows, working against hope in one of our many wars without end.
Today we are engaged in another war without end. Indeed, many of Bush's key enablers see Iraq unfolding into another Korea with as many as 50,000 US troops permanently stationed there. Why else are we now building in Iraq the largest and most fortified US embassy in the world?
Truth be told, I am barely able to sustain my anger about the horrors of this war. For in some ways, it is not nearly so heinous as Bush’s other assaults on democracy and sanity. The war itself is merely a symptom of our moral decline and collective stupidity, our swift descent into a corrupt police state that secretly tortures and imprisons other human beings. The daily revelations of graft and greed inside the military-industrial-Congressional complex have almost destroyed my hope for the future.
My father saw all this coming. A lifelong Republican and Christian, even he could sense the shifting sands of political extremism. He abandoned his own church after decades of service because the congregation began drinking fundamentalist Kool-Aid. He eschewed politics in the wake of Ronald Reagan’s declaration of a long war on the middle class. And when my mother finally died of a heart attack, he withdrew, alone and abandoned by everything he held dear.
One morning not long after I introduced him to his newest granddaughter, my father shot himself in the head. There was no note of explanation. As you might expect, everyone came up with their own interpretations about why he killed himself. He missed my mom. He was having a bad day. He was tired. Some even thought it might have been an accident. Whatever.
I believe that he was sad. That he felt useless and impotent. That he could not imagine a world that would be safe and secure for his grandchildren. I believe George W. Bush has created exactly the world my father wanted to leave.