I was unwilling to write this on Veterans Day because I am unwilling to have anyone think I don't respect and appreciate our veterans. I may disagree with what my Government chooses to do. But my uncle's service in Vietnam taught me and many other Americans to distinguish between Government policy and the soldiers who carry it out.
People say that in a volunteer army that difference should be forgotten. I disagree. People join the military for all kinds of reasons and who am I to judge their motives?
For some it is a matter of family tradition. For others, their wish is to protect the U.S. from alleged weapons of mass destruction and terrorism. For still others it may be the only way to earn a legal living or climb out of poverty. It may be the only way to take the family out of rural hopelessnes of the kind described in the book "Winter's Bone", the ghetto, or off of a reservation riddled with alcoholism, drug adiction, and despair. Maybe one will be treated as Less of a person by the father one idolizes, or all of one's relations who have joined the military. Such a life long disowning is hard to bear. I am in No position to judge and I don't. My wish is that all of our soldiers could come home alive and whole in mind and body, but that is Not the nature of war.
The TV show "Deep Space Nine" has episodes which move me very much, sometimes. I think those writers did a Wonderful job and this showw, in my opinion, is the Best of the Star Trek shows.
Thursday night I watched an episode where the young Jake Sisco, (the Captain's 18 year-old son was taken into the middle of a war zone because he was with a Dr. who had to answer a distress call from a planet under attack, with many wounded.
The power was knocked out by bombardment and an emergency generator had to be retrieved from the ship in which the Dr. and Jake had flown. Under shelling for the first time, Jake ran away and hated himself for it. The Dr. managed to haul the heavy generator back to the place being used as a hospital alone. Jake meets up, wandering and lost, with a soldier who knows he is dying. Jake Desperately wants to get this man to the hospital, partly because he has a good heart, and partly to make up for the "cowardice" for which he hates himself. But the soldier knows it is too late and dies in Jake's company.
Toward the end of the show Jake saves Many lives in a heroic act which allows the place being used as a hospital (a cave, I think) to be evacuated. Jake is a writer. He writes a story about his experiences and ends it by saying that the thing motivating him to run away under fire was the Same thing motivating him to save those patients and staff at the hospital. That thing was a Desperate fear and Will to stay alive! Jake, too would have died if the hospital complex had Not been evacuated.