I come from a long line of military people in my family. Uncles (My Uncle Manuel was in Vietnam, Uncle Phil was dodging bullets in Grenada in the 80’s) Cousins (My cousin Eric fought in Operation Desert Storm & was photographed with General Schwarzkopf, lost my cousin Seth in Iraq a couple of years ago) & my Grandfather (My Grandfather holed up in a cave for 3 days in the Philippines in WWII with a bullet wound in his leg). So, needless to say, I have a strong affinity for the welfare of soldiers. Which is probably why I’ve been in a perpetual state of 80’s rewind this week as I can’t get enough of “Love Vigilantes’ by New Order.
It speaks of a soldier returning from the war & all he wants is to see his wife & child. He speaks of being proud to be able to put his life on the line for his country & glad that he’s alive to see it again. He then discovers that when he gets home his wife is in tears because she was informed of his death. For all intents & purposes the song ends there.
It is rare today outside of hokey country music songs that we have songs that share things from the side of the soldier. Though, I will say this, we have come a long way as a country since Vietnam. The condemnation of soldiers for going somewhere they have no choice in going to is never acceptable. I’m not trying to get on a soapbox & tell people how to act, but I find it telling that we as a country care so much about our soldiers now. We should.
Throughout history we have been regaled with stories of bravery from the Knights of the Round Table, General Sherman’s Troops in the Civil War, the Great Roman Troops of Julius Caesar to today’s brave young men.They do what we cannot. They risk their lives for complete strangers, for an idea that the country is bigger than the self. It is the most noble of causes to sacrifice oneself for the greater good. Something many of us could not fathom as we sit in our comfortable, air conditioned rooms.
Robert E. Lee said:
What a cruel thing is war: to separate and destroy families and friends, and mar the purest joys and happiness God has granted us in this world; to fill our hearts with hatred instead of love for our neighbors, and to devastate the fair face of this beautiful world.
We continue to send young men to their deaths for our ideals. As a writer it is my duty to take a stand on one side or the other, but herein lies the conundrum I face. On the one hand is the family tradition of brave soldiers who feel the weight of war on their backs & live with that burden daily & yet on the other I despise war. I find it to be an awful way to find peace. To kill for peace is to seek the lowest form of compromise.I condemn war for all that is, but I adore those that give their young lives to save mine.
“I’m fed up to the ears with old men dreaming up wars for young men to die in.” – George McGovern
“The military don’t start wars. Politicians start wars.” – William Westmoreland
Love Vigilantes – New Order
Love Vigilantes – Laura Cantrell
Love Vigilantes – Voxtrot