Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

A Salute to Veterans ; A Christian Science Perspective on Daily Life

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

A Salute to Veterans ; A Christian Science Perspective on Daily Life

Article excerpt

I'm a veteran. But when this day rolls around each year, I never think of it as having anything to do with me. Perhaps that's because my own service was, from a military point of view, unmemorable.

The Army drafted me as the war in Vietnam wound down and I knew the odds of my seeing combat were remote. I never left US soil. So, saying I'm a veteran feels to me like saying I'm an earthling. It's true, but neither label tells me anything distinctive or insightful about myself.

When it comes to my veteran friends, on the other hand, it's a different matter.

As this day arrives, I think of them - a handful of friends and relatives who had much different, and in some cases far more harrowing, experiences than I had.

And I find myself filling with gratitude for their willingness to serve, and for the willingness of the men and women in uniform today to serve.

Whether I agree with US involvement in a past war or our participation in the present conflict is beside the point. Here was - here is - the willingness to serve, to put everything at risk; if necessary, to make the ultimate sacrifice. And that I want to honor.

I recall Glen, a lifelong friend whose service as a marine during the height of Vietnam included two of the grittiest tours of duty imaginable. I cannot fathom what it must have been like to endure the chaotic insanity of battle, with the closest of marines falling all around him. He did that, again and again. Yet, so far as I can tell, he did it without becoming hate-filled or bitter.

One Christmas while Glen was still serving in Vietnam, his family sent a Christmas card. It was a photo of him crouched on a patch of dirt, surrounded by a gathering of Vietnamese kids. A circle in the dirt, perhaps drawn by someone's finger, lay at the center of them all. Glen and the kids were playing marbles together. The message of "Peace on earth" couldn't have been better captured.

Now, when I think of Veterans' Day and of all that veterans have done for the rest of us, I don't think solely of the military and guns, but also of marble games. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed


An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.