Saturday, July 9, 2016

We Remember the Fallen--Yet Again

photo by Tyler Mebler / flickr

Just a week ago--almost--we celebrated the birthday of our independence. There were  speeches and hot dogs and family gatherings and flags and parades and someone singing almost off-key: "O say can you see.." Less than a week later it has all turned ugly. We've been here before and we will probably be there again.

But it is a time for sadness and a time to remember the fallen. For several years I wrote about our fallen in Iraq and Afghanistan. Week after week I listed their names and ages and where they came from. Little hamlets and big cities. All colors. Different--yet Americans. They represent our longest war and it still continues. The boxes draped in the flag still come home. And those that do come home sometimes after four-five-six deployments--feel like strangers in a strange land. 

After all these years we are still fighting the black-white battle. There are wars in our streets. Two of those policeman cut down in Dallas were returnees from the war "over there". The man with the gun that killed five policeman and wounded others had come back home after serving his country. Strange. Over there, far from home, they would possibly have been  in the same unit. They would have protected one another. They would have had--as the cliche says--each other's back. Possibly.

Meanwhile back at home this is another story. White policeman killing blacks. Blacks aiming their rifles at decent policeman that try to keep us safe. While the country convulses in agony men, mostly, in tight suits and lousy toupees and representatives of the great state of wherever sat around tables arrogantly asking questions about what--emails! Emails? Maybe they thought if they could just get before the camera and say some smart and ugly things about the Attorney General, back home people would applaud their incivility and ugliness. Even the Speaker of the House has called for yet another hearing. On emails? With the house on fire these that pull the strings and make our laws fiddle while so much of this country really does convulse and burn. Why don't get they get back to work. And when Sunday comes why don't those who stand in pulpits speak out strongly for this country and its madness and its promise. Is there not some word from the Lord in such a time as this? And for those who sit in pews--wouldn't it be something if they walked out into the sunshine and muttered: "We're not going to make America great again--and other ridiculous slogans--we're going to roll up our sleeves and make sure that we stand by the words we almost remembered just a week ago. "We hold these truths that are self evident that all...are to be created equal..."

Sebastian Junger is right. We are supposed to be one tribe. Tribes don't kill each other off--even if they are white policemen or blacks or Muslims or Jews or atheists or born-again Christians or Gays or Republicans or Democrats or Independents or Transgenders or whatever. The word, my friends is all. All. ALL. And let's not forget it. 

The old book says: "Grieve but not as those who have no hope." Pretty good advice for a people in trouble. 

--Roger Lovette /

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