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Honoring Veterans November 11, 2015

My dad Hank just told me some hairy stories a couple of days ago about flying bomb runs over fascist Italy and Germany in WWII. They sent him on some of the more dangerous missions: over half of their company never came back (and the story was later immortalized in Catch-22!) He flew 54 missions before they decided that was enough. He apparently has some strong guardian angels.

I’m a pacifist – very against these contemporary US invasions masquerading as “just wars” – AND I’m appreciative that Hitler and Mussolini didn’t get their way in that one, in part because I’m one of the people who would not be alive today if they had.

Thanks, Dad.

Some good-hearted people struggle with honoring military veterans if they don’t honor the act of war, or particular wars. I think it makes more sense (and more heart) to separate the two in our minds. Look at the example set by the Dalai Lama, facing the horrors of exile and genocide of his Tibetan people perpetrated by China. When asked (paraphrased from memory), “Don’t you hate the Chinese?” he responded, “No. But I do hate the Chinese government.”

So I think we can – and should – strive to change the destructive nature of systems such as the US military-industrial profit complex, while simultaneously respecting each being caught up in it. Respecting one another at the core (beyond preferences, current ideas, past actions, etc.), and deep appreciative listening with the goal of truly understanding, is a vital skill that paves the way forward to peace. What better way to honor Veterans Day than by working to ensure that no more of our children have to become vets; to endure the horrors of war?

Thanks to each of you, veterans of wars and veterans of peacemaking alike.

—–

#HonoringVeterans

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27 Responses to “Honoring Veterans”

  1. James G Bergstrom Says:

    Thank you Tina,
    It is a Masquerade, as at times it needs to be, that should never be in our homes. For the Veterans of the past it was a war that was tactile, visual and while not easily understood within the larger theater, lacked invasive technology. Today it is so much more complex with the onset of technologies that are both coercive and without the obvious signs of the past.

    I was a Flight Medic and spent time in the back of a UH1 responding to emergent need both within the Military and Civilian populations. I’ve never asked for a thank you, I volunteered and it was my job. I remember a Truck Driver that was crushed in his cab (we extracted him, placed Mast Trousers and many other services) sent me a letter after recovering at home. He wanted to thank us all for saving his legs, my Commander slapped me on the back and all I could say was “it’s my job” and I’m truly happy that man can walk, run, ride a bike, drive his car, go to school, work, pay his bills, carry his children, climb a tree and embrace his freedom without obstruction or need for appliance.

    This situation had nothing to do with Military action, yet we were there. Our Army isn’t just some other Institution or Appendage of the Government. It is you and me, all of us. Regardless of our Individual Persona’s or beliefs, the US Army is made up of all of us. I don’t think any of us has an expectation of thanks, or special circumstances. All, any of us ask for is the promise made when we Enlist without being harassed or obstructed. We don’t “deserve” something, it is promised and should never be determined by what is “deserving” in some minds. I fully support our Armed Forces and truly hope the best for all who are faced with the daily conflict.

    Thank you for this post

  2. RedChef Says:

    I agree wholeheartedly, Tina. For the first time in my life, I am not wearing a poppy, because I’ve been so fed up with people equating my honouring of veterans with ostensible support of continuing war and hate.

    Poppies are supposed to represent gratitude, remembrance and desire for peace. “Never again” and all that. Clearly some others don’t see it that way.

    I thank you for your comments. Also thanks to James G Bergstrom above, especially for the clarification on “deserving” something vis-à-vis contracting for it.

  3. Tina Fields Says:

    My dad is the cute, cocky-looking pilot standing straight up in the middle of the top row. He did fly this plane, although it was not his usual one.

  4. Margarita Capps (Facebook link) Says:

    I always thought your dad was amazing. Seems like he still is.

  5. Vincent Scriven (Facebook link) Says:

    He always reminded me of Clark Gable,or one of those celuloid guys.he told me once of his love,trust of the radial engines his planes utilized,said they made it home with damage most would have come apart from….and i think he brought my grampa home to meet grandma on the farm,thank you Hank for my existance,and your putting it all on the line for the rest of us

  6. Vincent Scriven (Facebook link) Says:

    You could tell people about the magneto at the airport story..it rocks!

  7. Doug Singleton (Facebook link) Says:

    Wow! How wonderful. We just did a first time trip to the D Day beaches of France. So appreciate what they did in WWII

  8. Markus Stobbs (Facebook link) Says:

    Best Veterans Day post yet!

  9. Martha McCabe (Facebook link) Says:

    Thank you for sharing your Dad’s story. And your thoughts. Great way to honor vets on this day.

  10. Maria Owl Gutierrez (Facebook link) Says:

    Wow! Honoring your dear father and all the vets today!

  11. Cynthia Scott (Facebook link) Says:

    Thank you for posting this today, Tina.

  12. Kerry Spivey (Facebook link) Says:

    Awesome pic and story. We are so prod of uncle Hank.

  13. Katherine Howard (Facebook link) Says:

    Thanks to both of you!

  14. Voss Petersson (Facebook link) Says:

    “Our decent impulse, to recognize the ordeal of our veterans, has been used to obscure the fact that they died, they were crippled, for no good cause other than the power and profit of a few. …As a combat veteran myself, of a “good war,” against fascism, I do not want the recognition of my service to be used as a glorification of war.” – Howard Zinn

    • Tina Fields Says:

      Thanks for bringing in the great thinker Howard Zinn to remind us that Veterans Day was originally Armistice Day, created after WWI finally ended.

      I completely agree with his statement, “Veterans Day should be an occasion for a national vow: No more war victims on the other side; no more war veterans on our side.”

      Read Zinn’s whole (short) essay on this topic at http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article15587.htm

  15. Mary Hendrix Schaefer (Facebook link) Says:

    Yes, thank you! Huge gratitude and admiration to all who serve.

  16. Lulu Flanagan (Facebook link) Says:

    I too am a pacifist and my father served as well in WW11. What a damaging war it was, emotionally to families that followed, not to mention the innocent ones When will we ever learn?

  17. Judy Farnsworth (Facebook link) Says:

    Thank you!

  18. Rick Tatum (Facebook link) Says:

    War should always be the very last resort. Like you, definitely NOT a fan of our recent and current overseas misadventures. But in the case of WWII, the men (and women) who crushed the Nazis saved the world.

  19. Matthew Bronson (Facebook link) Says:

    My dad fought in the Pacific during WWII and had similar tales. Everyone in his generation was anxious to sign up. We can honor their individual sacrifice without condoning the collective pathology of war.

  20. Jeff Aitken (Facebook link) Says:

    My father and uncles were there and my mom said they never got over it.

  21. Vincent Scriven (Facebook link) Says:

    Those guys could kick a modern humans posterior, with just their eyes.

  22. Martha McCabe (facebook link) Says:

    Beautiful tribute from a Pacifist. Reconciliation of the heart, for honoring Soldiers, sailors, and Airmen and women on Veterans Day. Thank you for your heart, wisdom and artistry in written form, Tina Fields!

    [pingback share Facebook.com Martha McCabe]

  23. Tina Fields Says:

    I was asked which company my dad was with. Hank Fields was in the 340th Bombardment Group, 489th Squadron. He served from April 1943-April 1945: 54 missions flying B-25s. This picture is of the plane he was preparing to fly back to the US to be decommissioned – its last flight, and Hank’s last mission. “War weary plane and war weary crew.”


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