Beliefnet
Beginner's Heart

War, my father once told me, never changes. It’s the same for every generation of men (and now women) who fight it for those of us who remain here, waiting.

He told me this when he was about my husband’s age now. He told me that the men at the VFW — the veterans of my husband’s war, Vietnam — saw Daddy only as an old man, w/ his big belly and his receding, greying hair. They didn’t see the Silver Star, the Bronze Star, the multiple Purple Hearts or all they cost him.

My father was lucky. He came home with only a big divot out of one leg, bad memories, and a fistful of medals for valour. My husband also came home with no limbs missing, no horrific external injuries. But neither man was ever the same. This my father knew.

I don’t know what to say to the several Oklahoma families who lost sons this past month. Only how very sorry I am. How much I hate war, and wish that there would never be another one. So instead, as we near the anniversary of the ostensible reason for these most recent wars, I offer this image, honouring both a lost soldier and his most faithful mourner. Sometimes grief is as pure and searing as flame. This image reminds me of those griefs ~

 

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