I try to write a Thank You letter to the Veterans in my life, every year on this day…also on Memorial Day.
I also have to admit when I started writing these yearly notes, I did so from a place of “universal guilt”… a cousin to that instant feeling I have when I spot a traffic cop following me, even when I know I didn’t do anything wrong.
“something happening here…”
But I realized a few years back that though many of my generations’ brothers and sisters treated each other poorly…well, horrifically…during the conflict over the Vietnam War and its Veterans, I personally never threw pig’s blood at a returning soldier.
Like many of my peers at the time, I didn’t really understand who exactly to be mad at- the military vets, or those who drafted them.
“what it is ain’t exactly clear”
So I focused my energy on Peace instead.
I was that girl with a wreath of flowers in my hair, who shoved daisy’s into barrels of the guns of local law enforcement, clad in riot gear. Young men about my same age, I have to add, who were just doing their own confusing jobs.
“there’s a man with a gun over there”
In the 1990’s I tried to open my mind to a new generation of returning veterans, so badly wanting them to have a different experience than those brave men and women, drafted or not, returning from Vietnam.
And then 9/11 happened and did a permanent number on my heart and soul. It was the birth for me of a new level of awareness. People the world over were responding to “attack” event with such dark black or white hot absolutism.
That all coincided with my father’s death so his lessons to me as a kid naturally came rushing back with a warm, loving vengeance. I considered, for the first time really, what he had been trying to say.
There is always more than one way to look at something.
“nobody’s right and everybody’s wrong”
So now, if I say thank you to a stranger in a military uniform, or when I send out my gratitude, in a note or blog post, I feel no guilt. I still don’t like or understand war, but I have room in my head and heart now for many, many more ways to fight for peace.
And I am grateful, and deeply respectful for those who choose the military (and law enforcement) as their vehicle to accomplish that.
This year, my sweet James wrote the letter below to his family. He and his siblings have had a wonderful, daily tradition, thanks to their 96 year old mother’s deathbed request. She insisted that they all stay in touch, even though they have lived across the country from each other. The emails to each other, all these years later, is one of my favorite all- time uses of the internet.
James says I can share today’s note with you too. (I have altered it only to remove other people’s personal stuff.)
Talk about SOUL!!!
Worth the watch for the drum and guitar solos…but don’t expect to hold still.
Definitely a “pump up the volume” song!!
Woodstock….ahh, so close and yet………(another post someday!)
(First version, longer but poor video quality)
(2nd version shorter but easier to watch)
No, I am not on vacation…although Nancy Merrill is. So she is skipping a week of her inspiring photo challenges. Her themes are great and the responses she gets are wonderful. Worth visiting her site:
Here’s one I responded to a while back.
Since Nancy is gone on vacation, I decided to use THAT as my own theme for today. I actually started writing about our 7,000 mile Epic Roots Road Trip vacation last summer but never got back to it.
Here’s a photo sampling.
I’d comment but can’t see the screen…tears…
the video is really worth a watch…what a love story.
Thanks Xenia Tran…for all your lovely posts.
It is almost two years ago that Mark Woods had to make a difficult decision. Walnut the whippet was eighteen years old and had been increasingly unwell. He wanted to take his faithful friend for one last walk on his favourite beach. In a simple Facebook post he invited other dogwalkers to come along if they wanted to say goodbye to Walnut. The post was shared and shared. When we saw it on Twitter we shared it too.
Hundreds of people turned up. Children walked up to Walnut to stroke him and say goodbye. He was hugged, time and time again, while Mark carried him around wrapped in a blanket. Walnut’s eyes were full of love. Occasionally, he would look up at Mark and lick his face.
her blanket of comfort
around our heart
© Xenia Tran
The video below shows a recent interview with Mark.
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