Veteran's Day

OK, so I start off Veteran's Day by listening to "Universal Soldier" - that is the song from the 1960s, not the '90s movie. (Got it at the Itunes store for 99 cents and listened to it on my new Ipod. ) Anyway, all that doesn't mean I don't feel the pain of all the senseless deaths in wars, past and present. I wince every time I hear of another American soldier dying and I say a prayer for those left behind. They are not "boys" who are dying anymore. They are frequently reservists in their 30's - fathers who leave wives and little children. And mothers who leave husbands and children.

And I wince every time I hear of another American soldier killing. I know some of them wince as well - if not now, they will in later years. And some will lose their minds and lives over it when they come home and will become the kind of casualties none of us want to admit are there.

Of course, it's also good to keep in mind that while we honor these fallen soldiers - and the survivors - on Memorial Day and Veteran's Day, we seem to forget that most of those killed in wars during the past century were non-combatants - civilians. Their deaths far out-number the deaths of soldiers. And if they survived their pain and losses are every bit as great, if not greater.

"Civilians" is a cold way to think about it. Forget that word. Think of old men, women, and children. That's what "civilian" usually translates to. Why don't we have a day in their memory? You know, the 3,000 innocent dead of September 11, 2001 - the secretaries, stewardesses, pilots, stock brokers . . .and the 130,000 innocent dead of Dresden, or the 80,000 innocents at Hiroshima, and a thousand, thousand other places we have forgotten? Places where soldiers maimed, killed, raped, destroyed, and went on - soldiers sometimes fighting in the name of Hitler, Tito, the Kaiser, or Stalin or Roosevelt or Johnson or Bush or Clinton or you and I . . . well you get the idea.

Actually, what I wanted to tell you about today is how we are getting sucker punched in Iraq. Scott Ritter really opened my eyes yesterday on this one. Take a look at US and the World.

As for the veterans - I do feel their pain. And I do know that in many cases what they did has saved us - and me - from having a much more difficult life. Yet I am still nagged by the basic idea that veterans, too, are victims of this horrible stupidity called war. And to some extent they are innocent victims - but they are - as Donovan sang more than 40 years ago - responsible victims as well.

As we were fond of asking during the Vietnam tragedy, "What if they threw a war and no one showed up?"

Universal Soldier

He's five foot-two, and he's six feet-four,
He fights with missiles and with spears.
He's all of thirty-one, and he's only seventeen,
Been a soldier for a thousand years.

He'a a Catholic, a Hindu, an Atheist, a Jain,
A Buddhist and a Baptist and a Jew.
And he knows he shouldn't kill,
And he knows he always will,
Kill you for me my friend and me for you.

And he's fighting for Canada,
He's fighting for France,
He's fighting for the USA,
And he's fighting for the Russians,
And he's fighting for Japan,
And he thinks we'll put an end to war this way.

And he's fighting for Democracy,
He's fighting for the Reds,
He says it's for the peace of all.
He's the one who must decide,
Who's to live and who's to die,
And he never sees the writing on the wall.

But without him,
How would Hitler have condemned him at Dachau?
Without him Caesar would have stood alone,
He's the one who gives his body
As a weapon of the war,
And without him all this killing can't go on.

He's the Universal Soldier and he really is to blame,
His orders come from far away no more,
They come from here and there and you and me,
And brothers can't you see,
This is not the way we put the end to war.

Chords:- F,G7,C,Am Dm,Em

Posted by Greg Stone at November 11, 2003 07:37 AM