It’s been a somber, gray day when the dead are felt in the wind and gravity of this public holiday. Holiday. Indeed not. As a child in America, for the most part, one is protected from war and rumors of wars and it’s a welcomed holiday. But not so for the mature adult who has lived through times when there’s been war and rumors of war. I’ve struggled with Veteran’s Day because of the stark reality that brave men and women really did go to war and still go to war. I grieve for those who’ve died in wars and those who’ve returned and live with memories of the horrors of war. I honor them. I cannot imagine growing up to become a soldier and this gives me pause…and awe.
I believe we need peacekeepers more than soldiers. What would our world be like with peacekeepers – vigilantes of justice, love, and forgiveness? Boundaries between countries only meeting places for shared bounty and festival sites for ethnic dances and food. No walls. An inter-flow of colors, ideas, and harmony as we freely cross back and forth like a line or group dance…your turn, mine…swirl, swing, smile, cross. Perhaps we wouldn’t need to leave permanently to take up residence in another land. We’d be guests of our birth land and visitor guests to other lands. Guests of the earth. We are here so briefly, why should we stake our claim so fiercely that it causes war and rumors of wars?
How can this earth sustain further turmoil, bloodshed, and hate through warring with technology that can destroy us all, we who are guests of the earth? As a writer, I know the importance of tension in a story. Would there be no story without the tension? Would our world be blunted and dulled by the lack of tension, that tension that leads to war and rumors of war? Does the story only come when we have to kill for peace and freedom? Do we think this is part of the circle of life and we, the animals, kill to survive?
I suppose I’m a hopeless romantic to believe that the world is evolving and the tension for story is changing. It’s going within that circle of life, deeper than before, within the souls of humankind who aren’t merely raising their hands to the heavens, but turning inward before turning outward. These are the peacekeepers in training. And believe me, to encounter the enemy and then the divine within creates tension and story majestic enough for the silver screen. Yeats said, “Man (and woman) needs reckless courage to descend into the abyss of himself.”
I’m thinking about these things on Veteran’s Day and after watching the superb movie, Harriet, about Harriet Tubman, I aspire to her words, “Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world. If you hear the dogs, keep going.”