Rick and Monique

Monday, May 30, 2011

Thank You for Serving

Both my dad and my wife's dad came home one day after a long 'bout in Vietnam.  They returned to a country that seemed either to hate him or that wasn't aware he'd come home, maybe wasn't even certain he was ever home in the first place.  They were, like immigrant America, tired and poor, huddled masses yearning to breathe free.  These were the homeless and tempest-tossed we'd sent, some of them more homeless than ever because we did.  Some, we'd not yet earned their trust and yet they defended us.  My lungs well with thankful heaves.  For Americans of every journey, America's not a land, it's a mindset, a way of life.  

Was a quiet day when our camo-covered dads landed back on our soil.  I'll forever salute our dads and be grateful that they returned home.  I'll forever cross my heart and sing loudly and proudly for the ones who couldn't make it home.  

Turns out my birth defect called Spina Bifida has something to do with Agent Orange.  Agent Orange was not a Dutch super-spy, although it certainly fell from aircraft...was much less elusive though.  Agent Orange, the mighty jungle obliterator, the weaponized pesticide, has much to do with when dad served the United States in Vietnam.  The U.S. spread that stuff--thought it would help--tried to keep the war out of the jungles by killing the jungle.  Lasting effect though is more an example of types of friendly fire.  That and everything about war is a lot to sacrifice and a lot to deal with in a lifetime.  Few soldiers dream for death and war and Agent Orange, but they go when called on.  No one truly understands the powerful motives for war, the cause of cause, the paradigms or what it is about their nation that's worthy, always worth the defense, but they serve and defend anyway.  Few truly understand the courage and strength that is the current and currency of a soldier facing the tip of a gun, or the switch of an IED, potentially laced with sarin, or stand in the breach for those whom they love within a nation that is theirs; for they who huddle in homes nestled on a fuzzy line between right and wrong.

I suppose we could relate a bit of what it is to stand in the breach for another; we'd resist opposition to great lengths for our children, for our friend.  We'd honor them with our lives wouldn't you think?  

I know soldiers; intrepid but welted soldiers, flew home to open arms of family and friends who'd in poignant ways gotten used to life without them...had to just in case they couldn't return.  Some sons or daughters waited whom hadn't even met their own dads yet.  That sacrifice straps to the servant soldier's back one-hundred pounds at a time; geared up men and women who form, who run, who crouch who lie.  They return home to open arms of family wishing for a large dose of love and a little of what was, and getting large or small doses of PTSD and at the very least...scars.  War makes life harder to love sometimes.  War makes it difficult to mow the lawn, paint the walls, go out to eat or watch the kids perform some kind of thing...any kind of thing.  Scars make or break families.

These men and women know these soul-traps are coming and yet they bind themselves to ships and guns and aircraft ready to defend what they love.  Duty requires these men and women to look into the faces of other men and women from other places, other nations and hold their own people, the immigrant home, richly in their heart; for they must look upon full-on men and women and then fight them.

War.  A sometimes necessary, sometimes penurious, impoverishing experience.

We've heard stories of oppression and suppression and extreme cruelty to people of other lands, and we've heard of cruelty on our own soil and these evils must expect push-back, must accept the righteous torrent that seeks evil's erasure.  These evils--they're worth eradicating, worth pushing back.  The faithful desire besting monsters.  

There are long histories of boogeymen under the bed.  

A caveat: The people of God are no strangers to monsters--we know.  Sometimes those who call themselves the people of God are the monsters.  It's sometimes difficult to speak for, let alone hear the voice of God.  We just can't be perfect people, even as we constantly wish we were.  We know there's something about freedom that's easier to explain than reveal, even as it's revealed anyway.  It takes certain people of faith to stand for the others, with the others and by the others; takes certain people to hold people safely on their path.  

Good men desire peace--yearn for it. Sometimes oppression must be quelled so that peace ensues.  But peace does not need a cause to call itself peace.  Darkness is not the opposite of light, for light is something.  Darkness needs the light for those to understand they've been in darkness, not the other way around.  The American people--we're not perfect--have many flaws.  But I know one thing.  We seek a free people wherever we send you soldier.  That knowledge alone can lift a man covered in soot, jungle, rock and sand.

I don't know what you saw my friend, I don't know what you experienced or how.  I know you served humbly the freedom cause.  And I know it wasn't silent the day you returned because there were many of us with open arms, hoping you were ok, hoping you could now survive this life, and you will.  Because our arms will never close to you, only around you.

It was a loud and joyful day when you returned home brother and sister, we're mindful that while you are safe, you might not feel secure.  And it was and is with great pride that we receive you, and by an eternity of gratefulness we now protect you.  

Thank you for serving soldier.  A free people welcomes you home.  God bless you.

1 comment:

Joh said...

It feels good to be thanked.
Your eloquence resounds in my heart