This is my second spring on Meadow Branch in Chatham County, NC. My wife Sue built this house in 1978. Our porch is perched on the edge of a ravine overlooking the stream. Last winter we had our first aesthetic disagreement. Sue loved the way the beech trees clung to their leaves through the winter. To me, the pale brown leaves were drab, like the faded yellows and reds, ready to fall.
But they didn’t fall. Not the beech leaves.
Last winter’s impatience became this winter’s appreciation. It’s funny to find beauty in the drab.
Last spring I was so disinterested in the beeches that I never bothered to notice when the old brown leaves finally fell, pushed out by the new green buds and sprouting leaves.
This spring I’m paying attention. When the breeze rustles up, the beech leaves take flight, feather light ornaments of winter.
Our other spring fling is a new television, and my reacquaintance with a former passion, NCAA basketball. The grace of these young players’ movements and the quality of their teamwork is breathtaking! Yet, there it was, in between games, a commercial for the US Marines.
We had just learned of the latest atrocity committed by one of our soldiers in Afghanistan, and I imagined these young athletes joining the military and being sent overseas to fight and kill and die.
The juxtaposition was incomprehensible to me. Imagining these graceful athletes armed with automatic weapons, sporting Kevlar armor, trained to shoot first, ask questions later, in a language they little understood. It was heartbreaking.
Military service can be honorable, but successive combat tours are guaranteed to injure our soldiers, if not physically, then morally and spiritually. It is excruciatingly difficult to serve honorably in a dishonorable mission. The American wars of the last decade have little honor about them. Vengeance, perhaps, but little honor. That’s why more of our soldiers lose their lives to suicide than by enemy fire.
The slogan of Quaker House in Fayetteville is ”Yes to the troops. No to the wars.”
Let’s bring these young men and women home, and end these expeditionary misadventures.
The same pundits who beat the drums for war against Iraq are calling for war against Iran. They were fools then and they are fools now. Under the Nuremburg Principles, they could and should be tried for Crimes Against the Peace.
Let’s bring our soldiers home and provide the health care, education and housing they need. Their families, too.
These soldiers and future generations of military women and men can be trained to defend rather than attack; and to provide disaster relief when needed. Young citizens trained for these tasks will display the grace and teamwork worthy of any championship team, and make the nation and our world a happier, healthier place to live.
This spring I’m paying more attention. I hope you will, too.
John Heuer, chair
NC Peace Action
BlueNC is dedicated to freedom and fairness for the people of North Carolina. If you share that vision, welcome. If your intention is to disrupt our efforts, please find somewhere else to express your opinions.
Dumbed Down Politicos
Exile on Jones Street
Pam's House Blend
Public Policy Polling
Talking About Politics
Turn NC Blue