In Touch November 11, 2011
Posted on November 11, 2011 by under Touché,

Vietnam in HD

I planned to register my mom’s car today.  I didn’t think that 11/11/11 would be Veteran’s Day and the DMV would be closed.  I imagine you would not forget that if you were around when “The Great War”, World War I, ended on November 11, 1918.  It would be a day etched in your consciousness, and you would work hard to honor those young men who fought that “war to end all wars” in Europe.  Our wars have not ended and young men and woman are still serving.

I buried two veterans this week, James Birdsall and Don Valk.  I reflected on how common it was for ordinary Americans to serve in the military in their day.  I thought of how few of my generation are veterans. I have heard figures that our current military comes from around 2% of the population.  With a volunteer army, the angst of Vietnam and the impact on a large percent of the population is diminished.  The wars in Afghanistan and Iraq take up less and less space in our papers and national consciousness.

This week the History Channel ran a series titled “Vietnam in HD.”  I watched the remembrances of that war and the veterans who served.  The confusion that they felt and the hostility of a nation for that war and even for those veterans was made painfully clear.  My heart went out to those guys who had been called by their country and did the job they were called to do. Of those killed in Vietnam, 61% were younger than 21.  I thought of my son and others who are 18-21 years old.   In a twist of irony, this week Xbox released “Modern Warfare 3,” a simulated war game. Very few of those who buy the game will be confronted by the realities that earlier generations have faced.

The Apostle Paul wrote in Romans 13 that the state is given the power of the sword.  It is a challenge to interpret this thought in the complex situation of nations, but we certainly need to honor those who serve our country in the military and fight the battles into which our leaders send us.

At Don’s funeral one of his nephews was in uniform. I stopped and thanked him for his service.  And I am glad that the DMV is closed today.