Song titles lend themselves to my journal entries sometimes.
Long ago, and far away, I was on the far end of the Vietnam war. The big protests had occurred, One Tin Solider had rode away, Four were Dead in Ohio, Everybody knew what was Going 'Round... Baez and Dylan and Joni and Judy... Peter, Paul and Mary told a new generation it was time to approach life in a gentler way, to stop the War in Vietnam, move out of that hellhole...bring our soldiers home.
I protested. I marched, sang with those who rallied, handed out fliers, skipped school and had my underage ass in far too many scary places. I ran from police, scurried down alleys, and have my own FBI record, with almost all the information redacted. It's only a few paragraphs, nothing like JS, who served two years for burning draft records, but, it's mine, and I'm proud of it... I was never violent, I marched and signed petitions, and pushed for an 18 year old vote, too. If we were old enough to die, we were old enough to vote. I believed in what I was doing, going against the Government, Nixon, the War and the huge machinery that kept it going. Where had all our young men gone, long time ago?
Eventually, they all came home.... well, not all. But, the huge majority.
Problem was, we painted every soldier with the same brush, and we painted them black as night with the evil of that place. Baby killers they were called. Spat upon, shouted at, called vile, terrible things... even those who had been held captured. We didn't understand to curse the war, not the warrior. That the crimes of some should not be held on all who wore the uniform.
Slowly we healed. We learned. We built that beautiful Wall in remembrance. Some of those brave men and women never left that place behind, and they still suffer. We learned, though... you don't hate those who go. You question the reason for the going, and you don't blindly go along with the decisions made.
Time passes--you grow up, you grow old, and things change. In your heart, however, you stay that rebel.... who may not like the idea that wars have excuses, but, understands sometimes, they do have good ones. Moral ones.
This war, this one has no valid excuse. This, well, it's not a war, is it? That was over ages ago. This is a 'spreading of Democracy'. One that has cost over 3800 American soldiers their lives, over 28,000 wounded, untold Iraqi deaths, wounded, displaced. Yes, a good way to spread Democracy. Iran looms next.
On Saturday, I will follow my morals, my values, my beliefs and join those who march against the Non-War in Iraq. Once more, I'll hold a placard and shout, "NO MORE WAR!!". I will do this, knowing my son is there, knowing he is fighting there, and knowing he has no political agenda in joining the service.
I do have an agenda. My children back me in this decision. They understand my mindset.
Old protesters never die... we continue to remember that war isn't healthy for children and other living things.
Especially when our children are wearing the uniforms this time.