I guess every generation has its war. For mine, it was Vietnam.
I was so angry about that war and I could not have told you why………other than my well-intentioned, but naive Flower Child commitment to nonviolence.
Even though I could not have justified it with any political understanding, I marched and protested and wrote passionate letters and participated in every way I could think of…believing with my whole being that we could actually stop the war.
Though I lost my innocence back then, as well as many friends, I never lost my belief in pacifism.
It took going to the Vietnam Memorial Wall in DC some time in the early 1980’s for me to finally be able to make room in my black and white thinking about the Vietnam war. I had never even considered how many of those names on the Wall represented men and women who chose, out of honor and deep-held passions of their own, to fight for our country.
I was still biased, and so angry on that trip. I made pencil etchings of 17 names, “brothers” from my childhood, that had served in Vietnam…but did not make it back home. Each one of them had been drafted.
Now, this print of Lee Teter’s Vietnam Reflections War Memorial Poster sits in the most prominent position in my office/Group Room. Everyone who comes to me for therapy is greeted by this powerful image. Such a small homage to all those we lost, in that war, as well as because of that war.
We didn’t know back then what we know now. So many of us would do it all differently…
especially the welcoming home part….
This is one of my favorite videos ever.
I ask for forgiveness for not knowing this back then.
And I dedicate this post, with deep gratitude for their service, to the following people I am blessed to have had in my life. Most, but not all, served during the Vietnam War.
Colonel Louis Ford (Tad)-United States Air Force
Thomas Alvin Bessey-National Guard Mounted Cavalry
Jean McMaster Bessey- US Navy WAVES
Captain Brian Lee Ford-US Air Force
James Fletcher-US Army
Colonel James Kowalski
Colonel James Sampson
Colonel Bill Head
Captain Roy Gurd
Jerry and Jennifer Niehaus
Carol’s first husband
Lenore’s first husband
(I know I am leaving out some names…so sorry)
PS Sorry I could not get WordPress to work yesterday so this post is a day late…