Thursday, April 24, 2008

Family Members Fighting in the Wars

Antiprincess just found out that her brother, who is an American Marine fighting in overseas, will be coming back home in about 200 days. I can't wait to hear her tell us all that he's made it back safe and sound to his family and friends.

There has never been one war in American history that someone in my family wasn't serving in the military and thus participating in. My step-brother was lucky. Right before the Afghan war started, it was time for him to decide if he wanted to re-enlist. He could see the writing on the wall and he managed to get out just weeks before the stop-loss went into effect. Another relative is in the National Guard and he's been stationed in Afghanistan a couple of times since the war began. Hopefully he won't have to go back overseas any time soon.

It's a really hard thing because, back in the day, I used to be really proud to have had so many relatives who'd served. Now, my feelings are mixed. On the one hand, I want nothing to do with this war. However, I still feel a sense of admiration for the soldiers who have fought in wars. Does that make sense?

I just pray that none of the soldiers I know wind up killing anyone. I know that might be unrealistic but, I just have to hope, ya' know? I have made up my mind not to ask any of them if they killed anyone while they were fighting overseas because, in a way, I don't want to know. I'm afraid that it might change how I see them. I don't know what I'll say if/when any of them do tell me that they did.

1 comment:

Salspua said...

My understanding of how our world and collective "reality" works has changed by leaps and bounds in the past few years. I have come to the conclusion that pretty much everything I was taught was either inaccurate or a lie. This includes the military and the wars of the past 100 years in particular.

I never did understand why it was necessary to kill other people, but figured since authority said so (and I was such a good girl) that it was a truth I didn't understand, perhaps due to the privileges bestowed upon me by those who gave their lives for my security and quality of life.

Now I understand that history books are written by the winners, and globally, the winners are financial/political elite. I question anything an "authority" tells me is a fact, as those in the highest "authority" have great motivation for me to believe something other than the truth. (Now I also understand that we are all each our own highest authority. Outside authority is a hoax to get us to give up our power.)

I think the military as we know it today is an obscenity against humanity. Honorable men and women join because they believe that serving is for our country's greatest good. Honorable men and women commit acts of violence they otherwise never would consider committing in the name of duty. My father served in WWII. Of his platoon of 160, he was one of nine survivors. Emotionally, he never recovered. He lived to be 80 years old.

My best friend's father, who was my father's best friend, published his memoirs a few years ago. It's called "Thinking of Germany at Night". (Rainolf Stelzmann) You can find it through He grew up in Germany at the time of Hitler. The book is his personal experience of that time and being part of Hitler's Youth, then the army. I can hear his gentle voice with his thick German accent as I read it. He and my father taught at the University of South Florida together for about 30 years. It seemed ironic that 20-30 years earlier they were under orders to kill one another.

So back to today.

The lies are more transparent than they used to be. I don't know the whole story behind WWII, but I do know it's not what we're taught in history class. I like to wonder what would happen if every human on earth refused to kill another. I honor the draft dodgers of Vietnam era, because they understood non-participation in violence is key to peace on earth. We must at some point ignore the king, as his power lies in the people's participation. Those in the military already have the greatest power to stop the insanity through refusal to kill. Of course, there will be consequences for refusing to follow orders, but are the consequences of following orders any better?

My heart goes out to you in your journey of reconciling your family story and love of your family members with how you feel about institutionalized violence.