Anything is Possible!

With Love, Hope, and Perseverance


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A Hippie Pacifist who Respects the Flag

Today’s Stream of Consciousness prompt is “flag,” to be used any way we want. I like the freedom of that any way we want part.

It still hurts to remember that on January 6, rioters tore down the American flag and threw it on the ground to replace it with one of their TRUMP flags. It hurts that rioters carrying American flags beat other people in their attempted coup of the US government. I don’t often write about such things, preferring to share good news in an attempt to bring balance to the force, as small as this attempt might be, like throwing a pebble in the ocean…. But some things we need to remember, even if they are painful. We need to not forget that this happened. We need to work for peace and also protect our democracy.

My father, being a Marine for 20 years, instilled in me a respect for the American flag. Even as a hippie and a pacifist, I maintained this respect. Never let a flag touch the ground. Fold it properly. If you have to retire it, the flag is to be burned in a ceremony. There are few man-made things that I have this kind of respect for.

When I was a child and we were driving on base when the flag was being lowered as signaled by a loud bugle, my dad would pull over, or everyone stopped in the road, and we all sat at attention. Even as an adult, just a couple of years ago, when David and I were walking along the riverfront and the Coast Guard ship sounded a bugle to lower the flag, it was not unusual for us to stop and stand silently as the flag was lowered. David used to have a flag selling business, plus his dad was in the military too, so he gets that stuff. It’s imbedded in us.

Reading my dad’s letters from Vietnam has gotten me fascinated by studying the Vietnam war. I can honor and appreciate our soldiers even if I disagree with war.

This just goes to show that a hippie pacifist can be patriotic. One of my former co-workers was surprised to learn that I was a democrat. She said, “but you’re so patriotic!” I was surprised to learn she was not a democrat, because she’s such a nature lover. Just goes to show we don’t all fit into neat little boxes. In fact, we have a lot more in common, and more diversity within our groups, than the news media or social media might have us think.

This reminds me of something I have in my drafts….. I didn’t plan this, but it fits here.

“For all of you who aren’t sure, it is possible to be gay and Christian.
It’s also possible to believe in God and science.
It is possible to be pro-choice and anti-abortion.
It is equally possible to be a feminist and love and respect men.
It’s possible to have privilege and be discriminated against, to be poor and have a rich life, to not have a job and still have money.
It is possible to believe in sensible gun control legislation and still believe in one’s right to defend one’s self, family, and property.
It’s possible to be anti-war and pro-military.
It is possible to love thy neighbor and despise his actions.
It is possible to advocate Black Lives Matter and still be pro police.
It is possible to not have an education and be brilliant.
It is possible to be Muslim and also suffer at the hands of terrorists.
It is possible to be a non-American fighting for the American dream.
It is possible to be different and the same.
It is possible to be spiritual and not follow a religion.
We are all walking contradictions of what “normal” looks like.
Let humanity and love win.”

(I found this on Facebook showing  it is possible to find something good on Facebook.)

All or nothing thinking divides us. The world is much more complex than black or white, or even gray. There are many more colors and color combinations. Even more than red, white, and blue. When we recognize, respect, and honor our diversity, the world will become more balanced and more beautiful.

Here’s my Unity Bird in alcohol ink on tile

Stream of Consciousness Saturday is brought to us by our host, Linda G. Hill. For more streams, rules, etc, visit: The Friday Reminder and Prompt for #SoCS Feb. 6, 2021 | (lindaghill.com)


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The Soldier

 

A Poem by Robert Frost

He is that fallen lance that lies as hurled,
That lies unlifted now, come dew, come rust,
But still lies pointed as it ploughed the dust.
If we who sight along it round the world,
See nothing worthy to have been its mark,
It is because like men we look too near,
Forgetting that as fitted to the sphere,
Our missiles always make too short an arc.
They fall, they rip the grass, they intersect
The curve of earth, and striking, break their own;
They make us cringe for metal-point on stone.
But this we know, the obstacle that checked
And tripped the body, shot the spirit on
Further than target ever showed or shone.
arlington-national-cemetery-354849_960_720.jpg pixabay
I memorized and wrote an analysis of this poem in high school. I can still remember writing that the words need not apply only to wars of belligerence, and that the soldier could have been fighting social injustice or in defense of a worthy cause. In spite of my pacifist leanings, I am thankful for all those who gave the ultimate sacrifice of life in defense of freedom and justice. I hope they and their families know our deep gratitude. May their spirits rest in peace.
(The photo was taken at Arlington National Cemetery and is from Pixabay.)


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Tough Old Marines

Jerry's medalsThey knew each other in Vietnam. Jerry was one of four tunnel rats in a battalion of about 2000 marines. Dad’s unit didn’t have a tunnel rat, so when they needed one, they’d call up battalion to get one. Sometimes it was Jerry. He’d crawl through tunnels with a pistol in one hand and a flashlight in the other, and a rope tied to his ankles so his buddies could pull him back out. Jerry got away with cutting up on the radio, cracking jokes, and harassing everyone, even officers, because he was so valuable.

My dad was a Gunnery Sargent, but did the job of an officer, leading his own platoon through the jungle. He retired after 20 years in the corps and still has nightmares about Vietnam. Jerry stayed in a little longer and retired as a Master Sargent.

My dad and Jerry each earned three purple hearts during their military careers. Dad got his in Korea, being wounded in the legs and back.  Jerry was seriously wounded in the abdomen in Vietnam.

They weren’t close in Vietnam, but as civilians, they serendipitously ended up being neighbors. Jerry moved in across the street from us when I was in high school. The bond of having served together in hell ignited an instant friendship. Jerry and Dad (and Jerry’s wife and my mom) became  best friends.

As I grew older and listened to their stories, I came to respect my father and Jerry more. In spite of my pacifist leanings, my peace songs, and peace rallies, I grew to admire the strength and courage of these two men who I knew to be caring fathers and loving husbands. They’d both been close to death multiple times. They both had to do horrible things to stay alive. Dad didn’t talk much about Vietnam, but with Jerry around, the stories flowed easier. Jerry’s sense of humor was good therapy. I wonder if it kept him from going crazy.

When dad was in the hospital with is heart surgeries, and when mom was in the nursing home, Jerry and his wife, Joyce, always visited, even after they moved an hour away to the same city I live in. After mom died, they tried to help me convince Dad to move closer to us. But dad has been stubborn, staying in the house where he feels my mom’s presence. Because of his age and health problems, we all assumed my dad would die before Jerry. My dad is 84, but Jerry at 75, went on ahead. Jerry died unexpectedly this past Thursday, on Nov. 5.

November is a hard month. Dad’s sister, my older sister, and my mom, all died in the month of November, and now Jerry, too.

carrying the casket in

For me, Jerry’s death is hard evidence that, contrary to what I’d like to believe, even tough old marines don’t live forever. But I will always remember what my dad told me when I was twelve:

“Nothing is Impossible.”

It’s even possible for a tree-hugging pacifist to love, respect and deeply admire a couple of  tough old marines.

I am forever grateful to my father, to Jerry, and to others like them, for their years of dedicated service as soldiers and as civilians. I am increasingly amazed at my father’s character, his integrity, and his strength in adversity. His body may wear out, but his spirit will live forever. And so will Jerry’s.

 

always faithful even in the pouring rain

Always faithful – even in the pouring rain, as we said goodbye to one tough old marine.