Veteran’s Day 2019

dad and grandpa s

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

fathers of fathers
a photograph, a silence—
echoes enduring

My father and his father drawn from a photo–circa World War II.  Must have been right before my father left for Europe.  My grandfather remained in the States for the Second World War.  He also served in WWI.

veterans day 2015 2s

We clothe our dead from the two World Wars in nostalgia, but conflicts since then have become more frequent, and murkier, and today’s veterans have suicide rates that keep rising, despite sporadic efforts to find a way to help their troubled lives.

“More than 45,000 veterans and active-duty service members have killed themselves in the past six years. That is more than 20 deaths a day — in other words, more suicides each year than the total American military deaths in Afghanistan and Iraq.” (NY Times, November 1, 2019)

veterans day 2015 1s

I wrote about this issue for Veteran’s Day in 2015 with the embroidered newspaper article about one Marine Regiment and the mounting suicides among its members.  It was a heartbreaking read, and I made a nonet from phrases taken from the text.

veterans day 2015 4s

He was doomed. Doomed to watch his friends die.
Life seemed increasingly bitter.
He never mentioned the war.
The funerals after.
He was still alive.
He did not care
to try to.
Gave up.
Scared.

Eyes
empty.
What they saw.
Directionless,
but what choice was there?
It becomes part of you.
He never mentioned the war.
Life seemed increasingly bitter.
Only regrets and flashbacks remained.

The very best way to honor our veterans would be to find a way to avoid the need for their sacrifices in the first place.  But given the likelihood of that occurring, we can at least acknowledge their pain, attempt to support them, and try to find a way to return some source of connection and meaning to their lives.

veterans day 2015 5s

If you are having thoughts of suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 (TALK). You can find a list of additional resources at SpeakingOfSuicide.com/resources.

Linking to Frank Tassone’s #haikai Challenge #112 for Veteran’s Day.

 

 

19 thoughts on “Veteran’s Day 2019

  1. Kerfe, in WWI and WWII the soldiers knew what and who they were risking death for. The armed conflicts they are sent to now they also know but what they know is it isn’t to save the world, it is to protect the interests of the 1%. So many economically depressed communities build the equivalent of a cattle chute to slaughter for young people who see no other legal way to survive. It doesn’t surprise me the #s who are suiciding but it shocks and horrifies me. You said, “The very best way to honor our veterans would be to find a way to avoid the need for their sacrifices in the first place.” We could find a way if we join together to defeat the evil monsters at the helm that serve the Overlords. Until then, much more comprehensive support for veterans need to be put into place. One treatment that I’ve read about in multiple places that seems to help is equine therapy.

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    1. So true Jade. I’ve read about animals being a big help as well. No judgements there, no unmet expectations. It makes sense..
      But why we allow ourselves to be manipulated over and over? That’s a mystery.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Manipulated into signing up for military service? Manipulated as a society to go along with warmongering? I think it’s a rhetorical question in one sense, but it’s also a very real question that is very complicated to answer. My short answer is that a patriarchal society institutionalizes practices that get the top of the food chain males the idealized cultural choices for mates, regardless of how sterile and empty those idealized icons are. It’s orchestrated to make the rest of the population feel unworthy/inadequate, so they strike back however they can to feel better, whether that is to abuse substances, beat their partners, or sign up for war so they can kill things. It is a sick society that we live in, and I’m very discouraged.

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        1. It is discouraging. People are just awful to each other.
          But in a practical sense, my cousin’s daughter joined the army because she wasn’t educated and had no job prospects. And she wanted to get away from home. I’m sure that’s more of a motivation in many cases than any desire to kill.

          Liked by 1 person

    1. I think it does have to do with the loss of any clear reason for the fighting. There is no moral center to any of it, and leaders are quick to abandon the need for justification of indefensible acts. It’s not even clear just who the enemy is, let alone why they must be killed. More than one protest song has asked: what are we fighting for? The reasons continually change, and none of them make sense.

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  2. I don’t know if it makes a difference in the end, but the fact that conflicts are further from home with no particular idea attached to them must make it harder to justify the killing to oneself. If you can’t understand the reason for killing, it surely makes it harder to do it for a normal person.

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    1. Yes I read an article about the moral anguish suffered by returning veterans now, which is so qualitatively different. No one even tries to justify these wars. They are just endless empty bloody holes.

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  3. “The very best way to honor our veterans would be to find a way to avoid the need for their sacrifices in the first place.” So true.
    I wonder if more veterans are suffering and committing suicide, or if we just keep better track now, or both. There are those, too, who slowly kill themselves with drugs or alcohol or reckless behavior. For one of my books, I was reading some accounts by Dr. Benjamin Rush, and he described a Revolutionary War soldier who now we would say was suffering from PTSD. And we know of the “shell-shocked” WWI veterans. It has probably happened in all wars.

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