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I Don’t Believe in Celebrating Veterans.

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Ray Hood was a hero of mine. Late at night, he would gather us around and rip sideways on the harmonica. We danced as only children can. The older we got the more we loved his stories. None of us could believe that he was on a boat for months at a time. “Harry Truman saved my life!” If there’d been an invasion, he would’ve been on the first wave in. The older I got the more I thought about his love for the atomic bombs dropped on Japan. It is strange to grow into a place of conflict about someone you love. By the time I studied theology, I knew that Jesus wouldn’t serve in the military. The old war stories started to sound strange. Though, I couldn’t disregard all that he’d taught me about Jesus. Before he died, I told him that I no longer believed in war. Laying in bed, he couldn’t respond. When I saw the flag draped over his casket, I grew angry at the thought that this blanket of nationalism was erasing my loving grandfather. I don’t believe in celebrating veterans. I believe we shouldn’t be warring in the first place. I believe in celebrating the love of God found in people. I believe in the ambiguity that was Ray Hood. I miss my grandfather terribly.

 

Amen.

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