Today was a nice day. I went to the lake with some friends for a picnic. There was bocce and Frisbee and iced beverages in coolers and all that jazz.
As usual in my doom and gloom way I thought a lot about a friend who wasn't there today. A guy I went to high school with was killed in the war in Iraq. His brother put up pictures today of his tombstone with some flowers and such. I think about his longtime love who he never even got up the courage to ask to marry him, let alone actually got married. He died too young. Another friend had a stop loss baby to get her out of the military before a second deployment overseas to a war. Her spouse has been on 5 combat deployments. That's huge when you think about it. It's horrific really. In the Vietnam War one tour oversees was considered enough and going back for a second was rare and discouraged.
My spouse and I were talking the other day about how different things are now than they were once when most young men served in the military if there was a war. Today it's the broke, the directionless, those desperate for college who can think of no other way to pay for it who serve. It is so unfair that we benefit from their sacrifices. It is so unfair that anyone should ask young people to make such a sacrifice.
So as usual, as I do every day, I pray for peace. I pray for peace for veterans who come home broken and wind up homeless. I pray for peace among peoples. I pray for peace for the families of the soldiers who have died in or because of wars.
Here's my sound track for the day too.
"When you joined the war we were so proud of you
You seemed so grown up, living life the way we taught you
Then your first letter came, it sounded nothing like you
It took all my strength to keep myself from running to you
I don't want no victory, I just want you back."
Penny Evans "They say the war is over, but I think it's just begun."
It haunts me that I live in a time where we send young people to die and for what? It's hard for me to say it has been a just war or that anyone wanted liberating. When my girls are old enough to ask, I won't have even a few words of "they did their duty by serving their country" for them because there's no good that's come from these wars that I can see. I tell the kid that her friend's daddy is a soldier and we pray he stays safe and never has to go to war again because wars hurt everyone.
So in all the joy of a long weekend, remember that we are still losing our young people to wars. Work for peace because it matters.