Monday, May 26, 2014

Wounds of Wartime

Today is Memorial Day. We know that means a day set apart to honor those who  lost in their time of service to our country. One of my Facebook friends from my hometown shared that her brother served in Korea, and was lost in the War there  As it often happens, while thinking about those things, one thought leads to another.....which leads to the writing of these words today.

We know that Wars bring casualties. We know that there are those who have returned home with their scars from injuries, who have been presented with Purple Hearts and medals.  We also know that there are many who have come home with PST, trauma that we've never known. Those people are seeing images in their heads the likes of which we'll never see.  Those men and women are recognized for what they've endured.

But, what about the many, the un-numbered others who bear the wounds of wartime?  What about the Viet Nam veterans who returned to be spat upon, cursed, and more as they walked through airports wearing their uniforms. Those individual military men and women who were greeted with disrespect after putting their lives on the line for us.  They carry that pain even today, so many years later, injuries  as deep for some of them as if they'd been impaled by a bayonet. An ungrateful population of demonstrators, some of them cowards who would run to Canada to escape the Draft, rather than put their lives in jeopardy.

What about the families who have no idea what happened to a loved one who was declared Missing in Action?  Think of the way those people must feel, kissing their son, or brother, or grandson good-bye, and never hearing from them again.  Consider the Mother who was notified by telegram, or by letter, that her son was declared dead, as was true of my friend's Mom.  How did she go on through her life, bearing such an unbearable injury to her heart and soul?

Go to the Wall in Washington, DC, and watch the visitors there. Look at the adult women and men weeping as they stand before a name of one they knew.  Notice them tenderly touching the engraved name and softly tracing it with their fingers. These are showing the wounds they feel so many years later over the loss.  Maybe one of them is a son, maybe a daughter...born while their father served in a foreign land. Those grown children might never have met their father.  They have suffered the wounds of wartime, and they carry those unseen scars throughout their own lives.

There are so many....uncounted.....who did not fight in a skirmish, yet they battle the pain that rides through their souls during their lives, things they could not control, brought about by the loss, the injury, the mental illness, the curses, the disrespect, of the ones they loved more than they can express to you.

They, too, endure the Wounds of War.  As I remember their lost ones,  I  also think of those who they left behind.


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