Monday, May 31, 2010

We Shall Not Sleep...

.
.

'If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders Fields'
.
.
This was the only poem my Dad could recite and he recited it often and always with a proud Navy grin.
.
.
This was the first poem I read and I memorized it with a reverence beyond my six or seven years of life.
.
.
This is the poem I think of when I think of war and soldiers and combat and patriotism.
.
.
This is the poem I turn to when I cannot reconcile why war never goes out of style, why we take arms against one another when we could just as well roll the dice or mediate our nations into some wriggly compromise.
.
.
This is the poem I remember when it is important that I understand the protection and pride of military families who feel abandoned and disrespected when voices rise and a war is opposed.
.
.
This is what I think of today, Memorial Day, when I think of my Dad and his stories about WWII, the ones that always without fail made him cry;
.
.
When I think of my brother in Viet Nam;
.
.
When I think of my precious job working in an Army Education Center;
.
.
When I think of Deborah's PFC now Specialist Ryan;
.
.
When I think of the horrors and highs of combat;
.
.
When I think of No. More. War.
.
.
Love,
kj

20 comments:

  1. so many contradictions within us. honoring those who have died, who have tried to keep our country free, yet at the same time wanting no more war. Who can understand it? It has been around for so many years, as long as humans have. Yet I am blessed so blessed to live in a country where i am free to speak and be as i wish. Blessings, Suki pS please put me on the private blog to read your novel.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Suki said it with great wisdom....

    Prayers for all who have given their lives to protect our rights and our country.

    Love,

    ♥ Robin ♥

    p.s. Please add me to your private blog too!

    ReplyDelete
  3. I think those who live the military experience daily understand the contradiction of supporting the warrior and wanting the fight to end.
    That they may all grow old.
    That they may have happy, fulfilled lives.
    That they might never have to watch our country send it's finest off to who knows where or what.
    It is very easy for me to reconcile both thoughts, as the military existance has always been my life.
    And yes, I am a pacifist. Becuase there are few times war is truly needed.

    XXOO!!
    Anne

    ReplyDelete
  4. Amen!
    Great Post. Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I too, find it easy to reconcile both thoughts, because sometimes there is such evil in the world that it must be stopped. I breathe easy this year with my boy back on American Soil, and yet I know he will be deployed again in seven months or so, and I am grateful and proud to be the mother of a warrior. HOOAH! **kisses** Deb

    ReplyDelete
  6. suki, well said. i think of human being in iran and i am so thankful for our freedom.

    hello dear robin! i'm glad to know you are hopping busy!

    anne, your last sentence says it all. the problem/challenge, i think, is that it is hard for military families to accept that war is not truly needed when their loved ones are in harms way. i guess i am a pacifist too. i don;t find much justification for most wars when they are a first resort instead of a last resort.

    yes, lynn, amen. ♥

    thank you, lakeviewer. i think most of us struggle with supporting our troops when we cannot support the reasons for war.

    deborah, i mostly agree but there are times when the decision to go to war is not based on evil, but on economics or politics. i do not say this to deminish your sacrifice or spc ryan's brave service. i hope you know that. the simplication of 'good and evil', us or them, can drive me crazy. we are americans first, of course, but it does none of us good not to grieve for all families who lose their young warriors...

    love to all.
    kj

    ReplyDelete
  7. Your heading is particularly poignant to me as I spent five hours last night, Skyping a friend, a young vet who was determined to stay awake all Sunday night so that he could spend Memorial day asleep. His way of handling the loss of comrades over the past 9 years. Very sad but good that we remember them. It is indeed a wonderfully sad and meaningful poem. And as I read it, the US has jut lost their 1000th soldier in Afghanistan. It seems a travesty to spend the day doing something pleasurable.

    ReplyDelete
  8. The flag in your header juts in with such pride and meaning. Very powerful, as are your words and those of the commentors.
    I think we all have jumbled feelings on most days and bring them to light on Memorial Day.
    I remember in the past my dad would spend the whole day crying.

    Beautiful piece KJ. You do have a wonderful way with words.

    xoxoxo
    lo♥

    ReplyDelete
  9. I don't understand any of it, it's all beyond me. I just try to...to keep an open mind and open heart. To respect others. To honor others.

    it's a tough day

    ReplyDelete
  10. Mim captured my thoughts perfectly. I hate war, I love freedom.
    I will be thinking of you and JB and Stella tomorrow.
    Love.
    xoxo

    ReplyDelete
  11. death is such an unimaginable thing, hells. i can't imagine hearing news about a son or daughter or brother or sister or father or mother. i pray for peace. i do pray.

    lo, after working with so many soldiers and vets, i know how hard they try, how brave they are and become. you can't afford to have feelings except knowing the cause is just. and when other feelings do break through, there is often confusion, guilt, sadness, fear. someday...i still wish, even now. xoxo

    ReplyDelete
  12. death is such an unimaginable thing, hells. i can't imagine hearing news about a son or daughter or brother or sister or father or mother. i pray for peace. i do pray.

    lo, after working with so many soldiers and vets, i know how hard they try, how brave they are and become. you can't afford to have feelings except knowing the cause is just. and when other feelings do break through, there is often confusion, guilt, sadness, fear. someday...i still wish, even now. xoxo

    ReplyDelete
  13. mim, there is nothing more i can say. beautiful ♥

    thank you annie, likewise and ditto

    ReplyDelete
  14. It is a beautiful moving poem. My Mom cried when I was born on Memorial Day, the association with sadness. I feel it's an honor, though it's not for me. I think it's the reminder of whats good and honorable, those that are.

    ReplyDelete
  15. My mother loved that poem and taught it to us as kids (I did not memorize it, tho').

    "...When I think of the horrors and highs of combat.." What a line! I was instantly reminded of Chris Hedges' excellent book War is a Force That Gives Us Meaning.

    ReplyDelete
  16. This is pretty powerful and a lovely poem. It deserves to be read again and again. Don't know if I told you my husband (deceased) was a West Point grad.

    The saddest thing I have ever heard is "Taps" on one bugle at a military cemetery. And the proudest.

    Dues have been paid - we need to remember that.

    xoxoLinda

    ReplyDelete
  17. No. More. War That's my Memorial Day dream.

    ReplyDelete
  18. lori, happy birthday dearest friend. that is a reason to be joyful, and from now on i will always think that it is your birthday.

    thank you, lydia. i looked up this book. it sounds fascinating. i may order it, if i can only envision giving myself time to read it....

    linda, 'dues have been paid'. this gives me chills. xoxo

    same with me, cs. one thing i do know is i am done with war inside myself and with those around me.
    xoxo

    ReplyDelete
  19. I read it line by line, thinking how you must have been feeling when you were piecing your thoughts about the sentiments of war and the people, who matters to their loved ones whoever and wherever they may be.. i feel it, kj. I would cry the same "NO MORE WAR~!!"

    kisses,
    Silver

    ReplyDelete