Remembrance, Peace, Healing and Cannon Fodder

When a human being consciously believes they are offering their life for a cause greater than themselves, they choose the path of hero.

I may not support the cause, however, I honor the individual for the nobility of their act and respect a person’s right to choose how they may possibly die.

With honor to the men and women who serve…

Yesterday, my US Air Force veteran spouse and I visited the Dignity Memorial Wall, a replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall, now on the final leg of it’s tour before retirement to a museum.

As a Marine Corps wife during the Vietnam war, the wall brought back powerful and painful memories. I’m profoundly grieved by this compelling reminder we humans have been involved in the earth experience for thousands of years and haven’t yet found a peaceful way to resolve international differences. I pray every day we get a lot smarter in a very short time. Since Lysistrata, mass sexual boycott has been a powerful tool for peace consciousness. Hello? An end to combat may really be so simple.

Turning from the memorial to look across the grounds I saw recruitment tents. To make sure I read the situation correctly, I approached a uniformed man behind the table:
Me: “Are you recruiting?”
He: “We’re trying not to.”
Me: “What’s your purpose here then?”
He: (Indicating a precision fan of brochures and pamphlets) “We’re providing information and handing out presents.” (Presents was the term he used for trinkets marching between the pamphlets. Do military marketers really believe we’d raise young people gullible enough to sign their lives away for a few gimcracks?)
Me: “So you’re recruiting?”

He had the grace to look chagrined and didn’t answer. To his credit, he couldn’t lie.

Most folks, whatever their their political or military persuation, would acknowledge using a memorial as a shil for business is ill mannered at the least. The title of the traveling exhibit and the stark reality of a recruiting presense set up an irreconcilable dissonance for me. Exploitation of the intense and vulnerable emotions from those at a vigil for the thousands of men and women who served and died is conscious less.

Eternal Memory...

St. Nicholas Memorial Chapel built in 1906 over the graves of Father Igumen Nicholai, Makari Ivanov and a monk whose name is not recorded. I painted this structure when I was very young and now have the opportunity to paint it again. Most of the homes where I spent early childhood were destroyed in the earthquake or burned. This humbly elegant building remains ever constant.