Brilliantly choreographed scene from my all time favorite movie about my generation…
Huge confession here…It has taken me most of my life to be able to accept, and then finally respect, the “Military”. Well, not the military as a whole, but respect for those who choose to join an armed service, especially for patriotic reasons. All that pledging allegiance as a kid, really meant something to me.
I saw my father cry exactly twice in my life. Once, for a split second, when my mother died. And once when I was very young, and we heard Kate Smith sing America the Beautiful. Talk about imprinting…
Becoming a young adult in the Vietnam War era, I was primed to join those of my generation who were loudly and sometimes, even violently, objecting to that war, but when the protesting became personal…aimed at my returning “brothers” just because they had accepted being drafted into that war, rather than fleeing their homes to run to Canada, I knew I had to find another stand for myself.
Confession: Back then, I could not understand that choice. I myself, would have easily left this country, rather than accepting being drafted to fight in a war that made no sense to me.
I’m much better at standing solidly for something I believe in, than fighting against something I hate.
In my young adolescence, I had already been exposed to the most extreme racial inequality in our country, so for a time, I let that experience impact my life to the degree that working hard for Civil Rights became my primary focus…rather than protesting against the injustice.
Then sometime in my 30’s, I went to D.C. to visit the Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial Wall. It broke my heart to have to look up 17 names, but by then, I was starting to see more clearly that I was not the only one permanently inspired by our standing at attention, hand-over-heart, daily pledging as kids.
And along the way, influenced by the passionate commitment of many men and women who had served in the Military, I was able to shift to deep respect and gratitude for their choices, while still maintaining my own stand for peace.
Here’s one of my most beautiful reminders…by the wonderful Karen Drucker.
Check her out at https://www.karendrucker.com/
These are the Veteran’s I’d like to thank this year (although many of my Elders on this list need to be moved to the Memorial Day post).
Colonel Louis Ford (Tad)-United States Air Force (my best friend’s father and my adopted second Dad)
Thomas Alvin Bessey-National Guard Mounted Cavalry (my Dad)
Jean McMaster Bessey- US Navy WAVES (my Mother)
Captain Brian Lee Ford-US Air Force (my best friend)
James Fletcher-US Army (my soulmate and life partner)
Jimmy Schack (James’s best friend)
Mary Paananen (dear colleague)
David Taylor (first love and still friends)
Joe LaFayette (college boyfriend, still friends)
Eddie Leachman (cousin’s best friend in high school)
Ari Cowan (amazing writer waging relentless compassion against violence)
Bret Burkholder (delightful colleague)
Vince Horan (beloved colleague)
Saralee Blum (former colleague)
Jim Sorensen (incredible husband, father whose children’s birth I attended)
Ron Holst (my cousin’s wife)
Michael Adams (son of an adopted daughter)
Dale Beuning (“son” of a dear colleague, kind of like my nephew)
Colonel James Kowalski (husband of my best Blogging friend)
Kirk Boettcher (beloved dentist of 35 years)
Mriana Williams dear friend and former housemate)
Richard Hartman (neighbor)
James Malone (husband of a favorite Psychodramatist)
Shawn Dennis (wonderful housemate)
Colonel James Sampson (my best friend’s other best friend)
Steve Dryden (childhood friend, son of my Mom’s best friend)
Don Ulmer (Writer’s Group)
Lou Chirillo (Writer’s Group)
Dave Bartholomew (my Writer’s Group leader)
Jason Bogar (Son of a beloved teacher/friend)
Colonel Bill Head (married to James’s niece)
Captain Roy Gurd (my best friend’s former best friend)
Jerry and Jennifer Niehaus (longtime colleague’s husband and daughter)
Carol Peringer’s first husband
Lenore (my sister) Bayuk’s first husband, Ronald L. Campbell, USMC
Niece Emily’s dad, John C. Johnson, USN in Korea
John Robertson (James’s number one long time employee)
(I know I am leaving out some names…so sorry)
Here are some posts I’ve written before about this subject.
Please check them out if you like and I appreciate any comments.