[saymaListserv] Memorial Day rememberance

Mitchell-Yancey HFH myhfh at cablevision-online.net
Wed May 31 13:08:28 JEST 2000


I do not feel the need to qualify my statement about the victims of war.
However, I did understand that your feelings about Memorial Day Observances
are based on personal experiences within your family.

My family has also been through the experience of being driven from their
home by people in uniform. My grandfather left Hiroshima as a young man
because of a bitter situation within his family and settled in California.
When my father was a young man, they lost their home and were forced to flee
eastward to avoid internment; two of his sisters were unable to escape.. It
is not something the family talked about much -  it is only recently that I
realized the hatred and fear of police officers in my father I became aware
of growing up derives partly from this.

I too saw part of and was moved by the documentary about war widows. I also
remember watching a scene in the movie "Platoon" in which the
soldiers have to destroy a Vietnamese village. The intent seemed to be for
the audience to identify with their experience, but to my surprise I found
myself seeing the soldiers more through the villagers' eyes,  because they
looked like my aunts and uncles.

These experiences are not as intense as what it sounds like your family has
been through, but close enough that I think I understand your feelings.

One other experience fed into my feelings about this past Memorial Day.
Through circumstance, I was at a boarding school called Groton during the
Vietnam war; along with the sons and  grandsons of several of those
responsible for the conduct of that war. Just before Meeting on Sunday I
happened to be glancing through the alumni quarterly when a picture of a
very young man caught my eye. It related to a chapel talk given by a
classmate of the only alumnus to be killed in that war. It was also the
first account I had seen by anyone connected with this school that described
the war honestly for what it was. According to the speaker, he had
volunteered out of a sense of 'duty' after graduating from Princeton, but
must have wondered why all the others from Harvard, Stanford, etc. were not
there along with the rural and inner-city kids.

I have to grieve for this young man and his family, and cannot hold his
actions more reprehensible than sending other people or their children off
to war.

In Peace,

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