arif

I don’t have the words

In Uncategorized on May 28, 2012 at 5:54 pm

I don’t have the right words for this, so forgive me if it comes out poorly.

I spent 6 hours today driving a u-haul up from Quincy, IL, carrying a dining table and chairs that were in the house I grew up in. When my parents decided to sell that house and asked if I wanted the table, I jumped at the chance. Some of my fondest childhood memories are of times sitting around that table, and I love that it will become a part of my family. So, I was already thinking of legacy, generations, and the passing of time when I got in the truck this morning.

Then I spent 6 hours driving, listening to NPR pretty much the whole way. On Memorial Day.

The stories of people who’ve inherited a legacy of service were moving. I’m opposed to war, but I’m slowly starting to understanding loving a place, a country, enough to want to make a commitment that may mean giving your life in the service of it’s imperfect actions.

What broke my heart, over and over and over again were the stories of people who’ve recently lost a loved one, usually a son, sometimes a daughter, in our last decade plus of war. Followed not far behind by the stories of the families that have been torn apart or nearly torn apart by the demands of a military that seems to care little for the families of the soldiers that serve this country, however imperfect this country’s orders and care for them may be.

The time added up to what was probably the first time ever that I’ve really spent a good chunk of Memorial Day observing the purpose of the day. There’s still a lot that’s processing in my mind. I have lots of emotions, most of them conflicting about our military. I’m not closely connected to military, but I can tell you that my friend Ryan Friedrichs, who recently joined the Army, was on my mind a lot today.

I still don’t know what this all adds up to. Like I said, I don’t really have the words.

What I do know is that on this Memorial Day, I’m dreaming of a world without war, and while that world may be a long way off, I’m dreaming of it’s near future achievable goal: a United States that treats the men and women in the service, and their families, with the highest degree of care, dignity, respect.

PS. This story, these feelings have extra resonance because my mom spent her career as a doctor in a VA hospital. I didn’t really understand her stories of Vietnam vets with PTSD and the like. Her compassion for them was evident, but I didn’t *get* it.

Mom, I’m starting to….