To Every Soldier,
Because my life has not included personal experience with war, I can’t pretend to comprehend the effects. Still, I am grateful.
My gratitude perches precariously upon a constant ache for the men and women who have done battle and whose deepest wounds may not be visible to the world. The physical losses, although horrendous, have some answers, some cures, some replacements. Mental and emotional scars can remain hidden, festering and feeding on the futures of our warriors.
How must it be to step out of the life of normalcy, of love, of family, of friends, of habit; into the abyss of war?
How must it be to sleep and wake in fear and dread – constantly overcoming one’s natural instincts of survival to creep, walk, drive, sail, or fly into what might be death or destruction of one’s known life.
How must it be to look into the eyes of another human being and steel against the necessity of doing harm. What damage must you do to yourself in order to foster hatred for the enemy, to change one’s view of the value of life? How crippling is it to disassociate men, women, and children in another land from those known and loved at home, to constantly try to discern innocence when present, and then to create an alienation that allows for mayhem.
And how must it be to form a bond based on love, trust and interdependence within your own cohort and then grieve as the cohesive unit is warped and split by the loss of those who were fused in the soul purpose of keeping each member of the unit whole. What must it be to leave the safe haven of that bond to return to people who cannot look into your eyes and understand. To live with and around people, most of whom may not be able to face what you live with each moment of each day?
I’m sorry for any part I have in creating a world in which someone must fight for me. I’m sorry for needing a special day to remind me of what you have done for me. I’m sorry that you must live with what we have created for you.
I wish you peace and blessings and self-love. I wish you forgetfulness of the images that have been blasted into your mind’s eye.
I pray for forgiveness. Forgive yourself and forgive all of us, knowing that you may have used the weapons but you carried them as the marksmen for each of us in this nation…and perhaps the world.
And for all the hurts that have scarred your body and soul – I wish you healing. I wish your soldier heart to be filled with love.
And I thank you.