Honor Veterans with Peace

I am posting this message from a Green Party colleague in Arizona in honor of Veteran’s Day which was sent to urge people to support the Green Party which is the only political party with a platform that promotes peace:

The Green Party is the Peace Party, the one voice in the political array that doesn’t rely on about-face justification for continuing international violence underpinning notions of a superior calling for our nation.  What does that mean?  On Veteran’s Day, what is the price of war?

I’m from a military family.  My dad went into the Navy right out of high school, and is a Pearl Harbor survivor.  After the war, he went Army, to finish his twenty years.  Growing up, I attended 13 schools before I finished 9th grade, most of them in rural villages, where the Nike missile base was a barracks for the privates, the missile "silo" was a cramped metal trailer, and the two families with kids were temporary outsiders.

Except for aunt Marianne, who was a navy nurse, the military didn’t want women, so we four daughters were not expected to enlist. As a woman, I was often told I had no right to an opinion in favor of peace, unless I had a brother or a cousin in combat. Like many of you, I decided that the way you best fight war is to get there ten years beforehand, and prevent despair by fixing what was wrong.

My husband’s family was also military. In their Appalachia, no one was drafted– they were Volunteers. His dad never saw a plane close-up, til he climbed into one, to learn to fly it for WWII. He re-upped, and finished his military career by teaching ROTC, in a building on campus that a Quaker-led group, including me, would stumble into one day, and occupy long enough to pray for the dead, and the still living. My as-yet-unmet husband’s only brother was among the unnamed for whom we prayed. His unarmed reconnaissance plane was shot down, the last fatality from Tucson. Until the next war.

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How do we count the cost? There was the warrior’s widow who, with two toddlers to raise alone, commenced a writing and publishing career with a Memorial Day article, asking for peace. She never remarried, and, she was eventually disabled with a brain tumor, and my husband and I became her caregivers. That is the part of the war that extends forever– that the one who should be there to help, years later, is, instead, a name my hand touches on a Wall, as I touch the places where he should have been, and was not, and the differences that it made, to people I care deeply about, and people who will never even know that he existed.

How do we, in the Green Party, honor the vet, on this Veteran’s day, the one who lived, the one who did not? I have marched so often over the years, stood in vigils, helped tie a ribbon around the Pentagon. I’ve been cheered, been ignored, been spit on by old men with VFW hats. My husband, too, had marched against the War, and, in haunting, last letters back, his brother blessed the marching.

The only "thank you" big enough for Veteran’s Day is taking up the duty to find a better way.  Praise of their courage, in a speech or a flag-colored bumper sticker, is too small. Throwing one beloved corpse upon the next, to justify having thrown the first, is sad beyond grief.  The truest word is that they are lost to combat because we did not work hard enough to build a world where war was avoided, because peace was the better option.

They planted a Peace Rose on Dave’s grave, but it was gone by the time we buried his wife beside him. The next year, my husband and I took my dad back to see Pearl Harbor again. And last month, my cousin Clifford’s son, Aaron, was killed in Afghanistan, leaving a widow and two young children, and we all cried again.

No more names on a Wall, or bumpersticker praise for the Vet. Raise your voice. Raise our collective voices, supporting those who speak for peace, and who stand on the platform of our party to do so, and speak through the megaphone of their candidacy, and challenge the war-makers at the one place they can be displaced– the ballot box. Ballots can unmake bullets, but only if the Party committed to peace endures, and for that, we need your support.

This is not a small thing, and we are the only political Party that does it. If our Party is silenced, then we become spectators in a stymied, broken version of democracy, and the wars go on.

How do we count the cost? There was the warrior’s widow who, with two toddlers to raise alone, commenced a writing and publishing career with a Memorial Day article, asking for peace. She never remarried, and, she was eventually disabled with a brain tumor, and my husband and I became her caregivers. That is the part of the war that extends forever– that the one who should be there to help, years later, is, instead, a name my hand touches on a Wall, as I touch the places where he should have been, and was not, and the differences that it made, to people I care deeply about, and people who will never even know that he existed.

How do we, in the Green Party, honor the vet, on this Veteran’s day, the one who lived, the one who did not? I have marched so often over the years, stood in vigils, helped tie a ribbon around the Pentagon. I’ve been cheered, been ignored, been spit on by old men with VFW hats. My husband, too, had marched against the War, and, in haunting, last letters back, his brother blessed the marching.

The only "thank you" big enough for Veteran’s Day is taking up the duty to find a better way.  Praise of their courage, in a speech or a flag-colored bumper sticker, is too small. Throwing one beloved corpse upon the next, to justify having thrown the first, is sad beyond grief.  The truest word is that they are lost to combat because we did not work hard enough to build a world where war was avoided, because peace was the better option.

They planted a Peace Rose on Dave’s grave, but it was gone by the time we buried his wife beside him. The next year, my husband and I took my dad back to see Pearl Harbor again. And last month, my cousin Clifford’s son, Aaron, was killed in Afghanistan, leaving a widow and two young children, and we all cried again.

No more names on a Wall, or bumpersticker praise for the Vet. Raise your voice. Raise our collective voices, supporting those who speak for peace, and who stand on the platform of our party to do so, and speak through the megaphone of their candidacy, and challenge the war-makers at the one place they can be displaced– the ballot box. Ballots can unmake bullets, but only if the Party committed to peace endures, and for that, we need your support.

This is not a small thing, and we are the only political Party that does it. If our Party is silenced, then we become spectators in a stymied, broken version of democracy, and the wars go on.

How do we count the cost? There was the warrior’s widow who, with two toddlers to raise alone, commenced a writing and publishing career with a Memorial Day article, asking for peace. She never remarried, and, she was eventually disabled with a brain tumor, and my husband and I became her caregivers. That is the part of the war that extends forever– that the one who should be there to help, years later, is, instead, a name my hand touches on a Wall, as I touch the places where he should have been, and was not, and the differences that it made, to people I care deeply about, and people who will never even know that he existed.

How do we, in the Green Party, honor the vet, on this Veteran’s day, the one who lived, the one who did not? I have marched so often over the years, stood in vigils, helped tie a ribbon around the Pentagon. I’ve been cheered, been ignored, been spit on by old men with VFW hats. My husband, too, had marched against the War, and, in haunting, last letters back, his brother blessed the marching.

The only "thank you" big enough for Veteran’s Day is taking up the duty to find a better way.  Praise of their courage, in a speech or a flag-colored bumper sticker, is too small. Throwing one beloved corpse upon the next, to justify having thrown the first, is sad beyond grief.  The truest word is that they are lost to combat because we did not work hard enough to build a world where war was avoided, because peace was the better option.

They planted a Peace Rose on Dave’s grave, but it was gone by the time we buried his wife beside him. The next year, my husband and I took my dad back to see Pearl Harbor again. And last month, my cousin Clifford’s son, Aaron, was killed in Afghanistan, leaving a widow and two young children, and we all cried again.

No more names on a Wall, or bumpersticker praise for the Vet. Raise your voice. Raise our collective voices, supporting those who speak for peace, and who stand on the platform of our party to do so, and speak through the megaphone of their candidacy, and challenge the war-makers at the one place they can be displaced– the ballot box. Ballots can unmake bullets, but only if the Party committed to peace endures, and for that, we need your support.

This is not a small thing, and we are the only political Party that does it. If our Party is silenced, then we become spectators in a stymied, broken version of democracy, and the wars go on.
vhere.

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