Well, as everyone knows, today is Memorial Day. I actually did not think up this post because of the (then) upcoming holiday, but because of a book I read recently. Just fyi, it was called Message From Nam by Danielle Steel and it was very good. I can overlook the overly romantic bits (but not in the tawdry sense, mind you, it wasn't a trashy romance novel, but there was some unrealistic falling in love going on) because it was a great story about growing up and realizing that life is not how we always hope to believe when we're young. The book made me realize two big things. One is that no one gives enough respect to servicemen and women, especially those from Viet Nam. Second, I think I understand better why so many Americans believe in some kind of god.
First, I know I really have no concept of what Viet Nam was like or what those men went through fighting that war. It was one of, if not the worst wars we have ever been involved in, especially if you look at the casualties. I think this book helped me understand war a little better. I know part of the reasoning behind her view of the war is still idealistic, but I'd like to think a lot of the boys over there were fighting for the people they'd lost and those that they loved. Maybe not all of them had that motivation for fighting. And I'm sure not all wars had the same motivations for their soldiers to fight. I don't know. I will not pretend like I know much about war or others' motivations for anything at all. And I am a huge idealist, and still pretty young, so there are a lot of things I have yet to understand. But I try.
I wish people would stop hating the soldiers and start hating the wars. Most soldiers are there because they believe in something good and worthy - freedom, for many - and they want to protect that. I'll be upfront with the fact that I am a complete pacifist and don't support war as a concept. But I'm not quite naive enough to believe that war isn't sometimes necessary. Whatever the reason is - be it misled notions, religious fervor, greed, failed communications with other nations, or something else - war is sometimes unavoidable. I guess I like to think that we just aren't quite there yet - the place where all of us can live peacefully together and use communication to get what we want and need, instead of force or fear. But the truth is that there are people in the world that do bad things. I can't let myself believe that there are bad people out there. There are sick people, who have psychological problems, there are hurt people, angry people, wronged people, people who have let greed or vengeance overtake them. But we don't start out bad. I can't believe that about humanity. All I know for sure is that I am not a bad person. I don't want to take anything from anyone. I don't want to wrong, or hurt, or kill. I have to believe that it is circumstances that make us do desperate or bad things. And who knows where I'd be if something terrible had happened to me - like if someone had murdered someone I loved or something. Who am I to say I wouldn't be changed by that and perhaps do something I would not do, as I am now? But I'm getting off track here.
Whether you believe we are fighting the current wars for a good reason or not, whether you believe the soldiers fighting are brave or stupid, noble or crazy, courageous or irresponsible, it does not matter. They are still our boys and girls fighting and dying for what they believe in. Fighting and dying for us. So it really doesn't matter what any of us think about the war - good or bad - we still need to support our soldiers out there, who place themselves in danger every day for us.
Secondly, I recently lost my great-grandmother, but I have not lost someone very close to me. I wish I had known her more and been closer to her, but the fact is that I didn't see her much and she hardly recognized anyone at the end. I don't know what that kind of grief feels like. But I do know now that it is very hard for many people to think that someone they love dearly and have put so much energy and time into, was just gone. It makes the pain a little less to think that maybe there is a god out there and the person you love is out there, somewhere, in a better place than this. Especially if you lost someone like the character in the book, in an ugly war, for no reason, so young and hopeful and scared. To think that the person you love is just gone is really hard to bear. I don't blame anyone for hoping there is something better out there and that maybe, one day, they can see that loved one again. I wish there wasn't so much animosity between people that believe in god and those that don't. I'm guilty of fighting about the issue, too. And I wish we could all just give each other peace and respect. We all have opinions and struggles. We come to our conclusions and decisions by different means and for different reasons, but we should respect that in each person we meet. Some people who disagree with us seem irrational, defensive. But everyone is scared, underneath it all. The truth is just that we do not know what is out there. We do not know what is after death, if anything. And we can all at least recognize that none of us have the answer, none of us know for sure.
In the end, each one of us dies. In the end, we each face that unknown and have to meet it. What lies on the other side, none of us can know. But we will all meet the same end. And that is that, my friends, nothing more.
In other news, I am busily writing a book. My goal: 100 pages by the end of the summer. I want to finish by the time that I graduate with my B.A. I want to publish and I just get excited thinking about it. Well, I'm about a tenth away from the summer goal, which sounds ridiculously small, but if I keep at it, I know I can finish. And besides, with my track record for writing books, I'm doing pretty dang good.
Thank you to everyone who reads this blog, and I apologize for not having the opportunity to write a lot. We hope to get dial-up at the apartment soon, because no one has service in our podunk little town.