The Memory of My Father: Veterans Day

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I wrote this last year, and may need to post it yearly. As long as war is with us, may we hold all who are harmed by war in our hearts, and seek justice. 

blessed be

It is Veterans Day and I am thinking of my father, and all of those with souls stripped bare by war.

He has been with me much this season, as I have built the large household ancestor altar, taking photos and mementos from my smaller, permanent shrine. There is one photo of him, as a young sailor, looking happy and full of hope. That is not the man I knew. The man I knew is a man that I still wish I had the capacity to heal.

“The Good War” – in which over 50 million people died – broke many men. I say men, though obviously women were affected too. But it was largely the men of World War Two that returned unable to speak of the atrocities, or share their pain, for they had fought the good fight, on the side of righteousness. They found solace in the bottle and the gambling den, in overwork, and the small joys of family. My father was one of these. To blame his alcoholism, and the alcoholism of a generation, on war was not something we ever thought to do. It was some sort of personal failing, or a disease unique to the individual men and women. The failing was really ours.

Thank you Dad, for doing the best you could. I will keep trying to learn the lessons of your life – and the lives of your generation – refracted through the lessons of my own. I will try to learn true power, rather than force, compassion, rather than pity, and the ability to keep picking oneself up, and to sing and dance, no matter how hard things seem.

I will try to unlearn war.

To all who know the ravages of war, on both sides of the gun – for those who fight and those trying to eke out an existence for their families in a war zone – I hold you in my hearts. I pray that together we can create a world where healing becomes possible. For those of us fighting our personal battles: May we learn better to fight and heal from a place of deep love; May we end wars wherever possible, however possible; May we work for justice and for the peace that comes from the strength in our bellies and the love in our hearts.

 

 

 

 

2 Responses to “The Memory of My Father: Veterans Day”

  1. Bill Dutton ( Older Bro )

    Very cool, since I now am a father, I have often thought about dad and our upbringing. I am his name sake, I work in the construction industry and alcohol,drugs,jail,fighting and I are well aqainted so I have often pondered our similaities and differences. Fatherhood has opened my eyes to the stress and strain that comes with trying to provide for and properly raise a child. OH MY GOD ! I have much more empathy for what dad was faced with X 8 ! I don’t want to say that I forgave dad for anything I may have perceived as mistreatment because, I doubt I would have performed any more admirably then he, if I was in the same situation. But the last few years of his life I was able to have several talks with him and even offered advise on how to become closer with his offspring. But, alas, I finally realized my advise was to go unheeded and thats ok because while dreging up the past with him, I was able to heal myself to an extent. He was never able to get to that healing point and for that I am truly sorry. Well, I saw this and since I don’t get the opportunity to speak with you for any length of time I thought that you would like to hear some thoughts about dad from your brother. Love you always and look forward to seeing you Thanksgiving.

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