Friday, December 17, 2010

An ex-soldier's holiday prayer

In December, forty one years ago, I was completing my infantry training at Ft. Polk, LA. I had orders for Viet Nam. I was raised Catholic, attended Catholic schools, and I was having difficulty with the words of Jesus to love my neighbor, vs. my training to kill my neighbor. I asked to see a chaplain. A Catholic priest/officer arrived. I explained my dilemma. He put his hand on my shoulder and said, "Son, you must do what your government tells you to do". I spent the next year in the infantry in Viet Nam.

At this time every year the priest/officer's words reverberate in my mind. I was too young, too immature, too weak to question authority and to understand the long term effects of violence and war on humanity.

Violence and war are the barbarian solution to conflict. To those with loved ones in the military, pray that political leaders will have the courage to seek options to war and violence. Pray that you and those you love will have the courage to challenge authority. Pray that everyone will have the courage to love their neighbor, including those in this country and the world, who don't look like them, speak like them, or believe like them. Pray for an end to barbarianism.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The Box

With their backs rigid,
and their hand to their forehead,
the draped box passes by.

With their uniforms crisp,
and their eyes steely fixed,
the draped box passes by.

Gone are the "ho-yahs",
and the high fives.

Gone are the beers,
and the bitching.

Was it about freedom,
and democracy,
and making us safe?
Or were we pawns,
in a zero sum game?

Now what?
More violence?
More death?

Is there a higher lesson to learn?
Should we seek understanding,
or just blow the bastards away?

The draped box passes by.