Band of Brothers

This has been a very busy day with lots of thoughts. The Edith Stein book continues to ruminate. I donated it to the high school library where I work. I thought about the story a lot today and the similarities of what is going on in our country right now. I read in the paper today that in two years we must all have National IDs in order to visit Canada which is only 50 miles north of us. I love to visit Ontario. They have some of the most beautiful parks and flowers I’ve ever seen. There is a lot to like about Canada. I’ve encouraged my children to emigrate there. I don’t know if they will but I’ve encouraged them because Canada is lovely. The national ID thing got me to thinking of the serial numbers that were tattooed into the skin of Jewish people during the holocaust. How much will our IDs be like tattoos? It’s frightening that our government is branding us. A peaceful border for nearly two-hundred years is being closed off to us without an ID. Who would think of such things. An executive mandate. No options for us or our representatives. Wow!

Tonight I read a very moving article written by Ron Kovic, a brother indeed, a fellow veteran. Ron went to Vietnam. I didn’t. Some of the guys I went to high school with died there. One of the guys rode my bus the other was in a study hall. One was a helicopter pilot. The other was a grunt, an infantryman. I served as a Hospital Corpsman, but never got to ‘Nam. Nonetheless, whenever I hear chopper blades I think Medevac. It’s part of me. I get teary eyed when I think of Vietnam and that generation of Americans who fought and died there. I think too of the millions of Vietnamese who died there. A whole generation is missing on the streets of Vietnam. Maybe one our guys or one of theirs had the cure for cancer or aids in his head. I ate in a Vietnamese restaraunt a couple of months ago. Very good food. Thirty years ago they were the enemy. They were ‘charley’, ‘gook’ or simply ‘the enemy’. When I went through boot camp no one ever referred to them as “the Body of Christ”, but that’s what they are. Imagine that, killing the “Body of Christ.”

Today in the deserts of Iraq, in the shadow of the “Garden of Eden”, we kill our brothers and sisters and they kill us. Billions being made by the war merchants. Sixteen thousand crippled American soldiers, sailors, marines. Another 2,200 or so dead Americans. Tens of thousands of dead Iraqis. The Body of Christ being bombed, shot, strafed, burned, napalmed, and willy peted. St. Jude carried the Gospel into what is now Iraq. There are thousands of Iraqi Christians. Our brothers in Christ and we’re killing them.

I hope you take some time to read what Ron Kovic writes here, The Forgotten Wounded of Iraq.
I often wonder what can I do and all I can do is be peace. I run for peace. Today I ran 5 miles before the workday. In the still of the morning on a running track in our local gym. It’s a time to pray. My running is a prayer to end the madness of war and celebrate the peace of Christ.

One of my favorite authors is a survivor of the Vietnam war and a peace activist. He is a gentle Buddhist monk, Thich Nhat Hanh. He is nearly 80 years old. He has some very gentle words which give me hope in all the darkness.

“Our world is something like a small boat. Compared with the cosmos, our planet is a very small boat. We are about to panic because our situation is no better than the situation of the small boat in the sea. You know that we have more than 50,000 nuclear weapons. Humankind has become a very dangerous species. We need people who can sit still and be able to smile, who can walk peacefully. We need people like that in order to save us. “–from “Being Peace”–Thich Nhat Hanh.

Peace and all good.