Veterans Day: The Highest Recognition

I run this image each year at TMV, for instead of describing military war service from the outside, this iconic photo describes something most have few words for. As in Corinthians… ‘but the greatest of these… prophesying, speaking with the angels, even the power to move mountains, to say Mountain, move! and the Mountain moves… nonetheless of all of those powerful powers, the greatest power of all, is Love.’

There are forms of Love that, no matter what else one has experienced in war, can still rise as a cry from the Soul, that one who at center, who carries the inextinguishable fire within, that fire of regard for humanity, granted by way of one’s birth into humanity.

There is a reason old vets often weep at parades and reunions. It isnt often nostalgia. The source of tears, no matter the topic, often comes from the deepest love known, one set in at birth and still living, despite all battle scars, despite all ill turns of fate, despite all horror or hatred, despite all else: the fire of pure love for humanity–

and even at lowest point, that uncorrupted love still burns… and tears can come because one hopes, sometimes unconsciously, sometimes consciously, that the outer world would someday better match the uncorrupted world one still carries within. Tears often flow from comparing inner and outer worlds, and knowing the difference between the two yet.

In all honor, this day, and all days, to veterans who have been to war and are in war zones now, those who have come home, those who did not make it home again, those who indeed are yet to come home safe and sound, and we pray, very soon.

  

Author: DR. CLARISSA PINKOLA ESTÉS, Managing Editor of TMV, and Columnist

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4 Comments

  1. The members of the “greatest generation,” as well as soldiers in all other wars, have often been thrust into combat at the whim of leaders who have never even seen battle. But, the stand against Hitler truly resulted in “saving the world” and, for many soldiers, giving the ultimate sacrifice of “laying down their lives for another,” should never be forgotten!

    Often Soldiers who endured the mass carnage of fierce battles, have said that, in the end, they were not fighting for their country, but rather, to keep each other alive. They knew that the hero’s often portrayed in movies were, most likely, the absurd and unreal concoctions of movie directors who desired to exploit the “glory of war.” But in Ken Burn’s famous documentary about the Greatest generation, interviews with survivors revealed that many battle grounds were truly so Hellish that, even the bravest soldiers lacked any special heroic strategies to be valorous and win. But rather, they ran and fought instinctively to protect their own lives as well as the lives of their buddies, and that this dedication had become one of their only real reasons to survive.

    911 hit home to us in a way that most had never really expected–here was a monstrous attack apparently launched by sick human beings who killed nearly 3000 of our fellow Americans at the World Trade Centers. The effect for me was visceral. After all, It happened on our OWN soil! But, just like the brave soldiers who endured the Hell of many wars and helped their fellow soldiers not to die, firemen and police ran into the second tower in order to “do their Jobs” and rescue whoever they could–they did this even after witnessing the first tower’s collapse!

    True valor has something to do with doing the right thing at the right time, and, laying down one’s life for another, is truly the greatest expression of love.

    Despite the human avarice and folly that may have begun so many useless and destructive wars. Our soldiers endured and did what they could to do the right thing at the right time. For that we owe them everything!

  2. thank you Pete, poignant and well spoken. So many have so many memories. I appreciate hearing them. I think many of us do.

  3. They’re great, our service people, and they even landed on the beach at Sandy destroyed Belle Harbor in the Rockaways, NY.
    Yes, they came in a assault landing craft to help the population heavy with residents and families of our brave firemen and police officers and dedicated sanitation workers. This area has seen a plane crash that killed five on the ground recently and lost folks in the 9/11/2001 attack.
    My highest respect for all the people in uniform, military and civilian; they’re not “rich” in money but they are rich in spirit..

  4. thank you dduck… your storycito of how the helpers came, military and other people dedicated to service is so true. And there are quite a few villages in NJ where many lost so many loved ones in 9-11, men and women who often were also servers and window washers and in maintenance. May their souls live forever.

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