by Kassandra Lamb
We had a different post planned for today but Memorial Day snuck up on us. It’s really early this year.
(Note: the following are the opinions of this author and do not necessarily reflect those of the other misterio press authors.)
As I’ve mentioned before, I’m a pacifist by nature. I abhor violence. But unfortunately in the real world there are some evil people, and even more people who are willing to do evil things in order to achieve their goals. So violence is part of the human condition and probably will be for the foreseeable future.
One of the many things I learned from being a psychotherapist is that evil survives and thrives on fear and passivity. So I do believe that it has to be stopped. And the only force evil understands is just that, force.
So how am I any different from those I accuse of using evil to achieve their own goals? I guess I’m not completely different. My only defense is that I believe in the use of violence only in defense of self and others.
So in the real world, this country needs a strong military. It does act as a deterrent against a good bit of that evil. And the rest of the time, unfortunately, those men and women in uniform have to fight back the evil.
I was a teen and college student during the Vietnam War–probably the least popular war ever fought by this country. I protested against that war. But I was appalled by the treatment of the returning GIs at the hands of some of my fellow pacifists. They often were not welcomed as the heroes they were, especially since many of them had been drafted. They were sometimes spat on and called baby killers.
Humans have short memories and we don’t always learn from the past. But I think our society learned that lesson. By all means, hate war! But honor the troops who have sacrificed so much to protect our peace.
Any particular soldiers, sailors or Marines whom you’re remembering this Memorial Day?
Posted by Kassandra Lamb. Kassandra is a retired psychotherapist turned mystery writer. She writes the Kate Huntington mystery series.
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Kirsten WeissMay 26, 2014 at 4:19 pm
I was behind a car with a “War Is Never the Answer” bumper sticker the other day, and thought, “It’s the answer if your country is being invaded!” Due to geography, we’ve managed to avoid that, thankfully, but I’ve lived in countries that have been invaded, and it creates a very different mindset in its people.
Kassandra LambMay 26, 2014 at 8:36 pm
I’ll bet it does! Thanks for that perspective, Kirsten. All too often we take the sense of safety we have in this country for granted.
K.B. OwenMay 26, 2014 at 8:49 pm
I’m so glad that soldiers aren’t vilified anymore. They are the most selfless folks I know. Thanks for your post, Kass!
Kassandra LambMay 26, 2014 at 9:31 pm
When I was in college, I knew so many young men who had been to Vietnam, or who were afraid of being drafted and sent there. My whole generation was impacted by that war. And it just seemed so unfair to me that those young men should be blamed for a war started by politicians.
Today we have even more reason to be grateful to our all-volunteer military. These men and women freely commit themselves to the task of protecting our country.
Marcy KennedyMay 27, 2014 at 6:54 pm
I’m coming to this a little late, but I wanted to leave a comment anyway because I thought this was a very good post 🙂 I’m married to a former Marine (medically discharged due to a stroke) who did a combat deployment to Iraq. Current veterans don’t face the same reactions Vietnam vets did upon returning home, but I think they face some unique challenges of their own that aren’t well acknowledged or dealt with as of yet. A big one is PTSD. There isn’t enough support (especially financial support for counseling) given to veterans with PTSD. There’s also still a stigma to being a veteran with PTSD. Another is that the average person doesn’t understand the culture shock (for lack of a better term) that discharged veterans face. It’s almost like they’re thanked for their service but then they’re expected to immediately take up with civilian life as if nothing has changed. It’s not that easy. I don’t claim to have the answers, but as someone who’s seen up close the invisible scars that war leaves on a person, I wish there was more being done for veterans in general.
Sorry. I know I got a little off topic there 🙂
Kassandra LambMay 27, 2014 at 8:52 pm
I don’t think you’re the least bit off topic, Marcy. I know the military is trying harder to acknowledge and treat PTSD, but they still have a long way to go. And I can only begin to imagine the culture shock issue. Life is a war zone has got to be totally different from “normal.” We need to be doing so much more to ease the transition back to civilian life. Thanks so much for sharing your experiences with this.
Shan Jeniah BurtonMay 30, 2014 at 12:33 am
My older cousin married a Vietnam veteran. He was a great guy, funny and bright, with a great smile.
And, a life filled with mental and emotional disturbances that lasted throughout my childhood. Once, I showed him the hair dryer I’d gotten as a gift and triggered a flashback. I never forgot that.
Some years ago, he committed suicide.
It doesn’t make sense to vilify soldiers. They are people. I, too, am a pacifist – and a big reason for this is what it does to people.
We’d do better as a species if we decided to vilify the act of violence, and the damage that too often leads to it, instead.
Lovely, lovely post.
Kassandra LambMay 30, 2014 at 8:46 pm
Oh my, that’s so sad that he committed suicide. I do hope the day will come when war is a thing of the past. Maybe in our children’s children’s lifetime!
Thanks so much for stopping by, Shan.
Welcome to My Sunday Post for June 1, 2014 ! | shanjeniahJune 1, 2014 at 9:19 pm
[…] And if all pacifists remembered that soldiers are people, too? […]
Emma BurcartJune 2, 2014 at 8:05 am
I love this! I, too, hate war. But I understand the need for the military and I respect and appreciate the soldiers who fight so I don’t have to. One of my brothers is in the Army, so that also gives me some perspective on what it means. He was deployed to Afghanistan twice, and I didn’t sleep well the entire time he was gone. For memorial day my gym spent a week doing Hero workouts, named for and done in honor of particular soldiers who were killed in action. I definitely thought about their sacrifices while I was working out. I just can’t imagine.
Kassandra LambJune 2, 2014 at 12:20 pm
Thanks for adding that perspective, Emma. When I watch the news about Afghanistan and see our soldiers over there, I can’t help but think like a mother and a sister. I imagine how hard that must be on families. Thank God your brother came home safe!