Operation Homecoming

As I was finishing milking the goats tonight, listening as usual to WAMC, I broke out weeping as I listened to a piece on “Selected Shorts“: For a change, not a piece of fiction, but a description of soldiers arriving at the small airport in Bangor, ME, returning home from Iraq.  They arrived at 3am, 36 hours late; and they were greeted by older veterans, some in wheelchairs, with salutes, handshakes, food and drink and phones. Veterans of World War II, Korea, and Viet Nam, who had been waiting for them in the airport for 24 hours.

No matter what you think of a particular war or of war in general, no matter your politics or your pacifism:  It is precisely because war is so brutal that it is so important to honor the men and women who survive it and come home.

We owe them this; we sent them.  I don’t care how much of a pacifist you are, our sons and daughters are “over there” because we sent them.  So we share the responsibility of bringing them home.  And I mean bringing their minds and hearts and souls home, in addition to their bodies: helping them get through the PTSD and the altered perspective and all the other legacies of the battlefield.  I think that all soldiers are wounded soldiers.

The piece I wept during is from a book called “Operation Homecoming.”