This evening we stopped by the home of a young man we have known for many years who will be heading off the Fort Sill, Oklahoma to go to boot camp for the next nine weeks.

Our friend Jon is one of the nicest young men I have ever met.  I met Jon when he was in seventh grade.  He was one of my Gear Up students, and even back in middle school, I think he had two career dreams....to join the military or be a preacher.  Well, he is starting one of those career paths this week.

As we stood in his parent's living room, and his mother, through tears, shared how much she would miss him, yet also showing her pride in the fact that he wants to serve his country, it got me to thinking about the men and women who serve our country.

And how hard it is, as a parent, to have a child in war.

We have some very close friends whose son was recently deployed to Afghanistan.  I recently talked briefly with this young man's mother, and you could hear the concern in her voice as she talked about him being there.  Yes, she has a very strong faith, and knows God is in control, but the trepidation of having their only son over in the Middle East is real.

I also remember my Grandma Woolum, and how the death of my Uncle Bill had such a profound impact on her.  He was in the Navy, and was in the Pacific Arena during World War II, and his ship was attacked and he was killed.  This event had an incredible impact on her life, losing her oldest son. 

In our local paper, the Shoshone News Press, a writer by the name of David Bond has a weekly column called the "Wallace Street Journal".  To be perfectly honest, I usually don't agree with most of the things he writes.  But when I saw his headline of his column in today's paper, "Why I Am Becoming a Pacifist", I had to read what he had to say.

I like being surprised.  I loved what he had to say today.

Here is an excerpt from today column:

The soldiers come back with lost limbs, lost bodily functions, with Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome and can't deal with family life anymore. These kids feel abandoned by their daddies, veterans who spend their new civilian time looking for jobs and for snipers and IEDs. Helluva life. Welcome home.
“We Support Our Troops.” I am so sick of that bumper-sticker I could hurl a pineapple into the next rig I see wearing one. Of course we support our troops. They are our countrymen. We should be supporting our Steel Workers and Iron Workers and Electrical Workers, and our miners and plumbers, too. We're all cut from the same cloth.  
How about a new bumper sticker: “We Support Our Troops but Damn Our Foreign Policy.” These brave young men and women who come home with their limbs torn off are patriots but the foreign policy that sends them into danger is anything but patriotic. They are sent off on a fool's errand, to defend America's hegemony in the Middle East and elsewhere and for what? Liberty? Freedom? Oil? Gas? Coal?
So we send our children into the IEDs and the flamethrowers to prove to the world that we're still the big dogs.  
Why? Certainly we need a Department of Defense, and it should be just that. Our country is vulnerable to missile attacks, so let's spend our money trying our best to defend ourselves. But the DoD's job is  defense, not war.
The men (and I am sure women) who founded this nation were refugees from an empire. Why must we repeat this empire mistake, and throw our children in the wood-chippers of modern technology in the process? We have the copper, silver, gold, coal, oil and rare-earth metals to supply the planet for a century. Other folks want it. Let us peacefully trade with them, and bring our kids home.
If you would like to read the entire column, you can find it here.
I like that men and women want to serve our country.  I don't necessarily like the reasons why they have to go into the Middle East, or other places in the world where there may be conflict, and encounter the things they have to encounter. 
I found this song that Perry Como sang in the 1950's called "Prayer for Peace".  It is just as relevant now as it was in his time.
Come and join me in a prayer, 
In a humble prayer for peace. 
One voice may be weak, 
But together we’ll be heard . . . 

Let us gather ‘round and pray, 
For a life of peace and love, 
In a world that’s free from want, 
And free from fear. 

Pray for the hearts of all mankind, 
That they may find, 
New faith and trust in each other, 
And peace of mind! 

Come and join me in a prayer, 
If we all kneel side by side, 
In a prayer for peace, 
How can we be denied? 

If we only pray for the hearts of all mankind, 
That they may find . . . 
New faith and trust in each other, 
And peace of mind! 

Come and join me in a prayer, 
If we all kneel side by side, 
In a prayer for peace, 
How can we be denied?

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