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Peace Out

I was a child of the 60’s. My memories of the era were hazy.  Not the reason you think, but rather, because I looked at the world through the eyes of a child.

I never understood the implications of the Viet Nam war.  But I cried at a soldier’s funeral.  I never knew him, but he was my classmate, Shelly’s, big brother.  I remember turning and watching his flag draped coffin roll down the aisle.  I watched as his mother followed with stooped shoulders.  I vividly remember her face.  Wracked with days and days of grief.

I remember images of Woodstock splashed on the evening news from the TV console.  The same TV that my father would turn on 10 minutes before the broadcast so that it could warm up in time. But because it didn’t feature the Osmond Brothers, David Cassidy, or Bobby Sherman, I had no interest.

I remember the horror of the images of Kent State.  After all, we lived in Ohio.  My parents, products of the happy days of the 50’s, huddled together with whispers of disbelief, as they watched a country they loved be ripped apart.

And I remember how my father swore never to watch another Jane Fonda movie again.  For the rest of his life. As he is preparing to turn 80, I am certain that he has kept that promise.

At the age of 9, I fashioned a peace sign necklace made from cardboard and brown faux leather, left over from a faux leather fringe vest that my mother had made.  I strung it around some sewing thread and wore it to dinner.  I thought it was cool.  When my parents saw it, they asked me to take it off and never wear it again.  They didn’t tell me why.  I didn’t ask.

Because I was a child of the 60’s, I obeyed my parents.

And hid it in my treasure box.

The other day I noticed that my 10 year old daughter had been doodling on her notebook.  Twenty five or so peace signs graced the outer and inner pages.  I began to look around and see that old symbol appearing again on clothing and bumper stickers.  I brushed it off as a fad, but then my husband had the good sense to ask my daughter why she was drawing a peace sign on her work.

She shrugged, “because it’s cool.”

She had no idea what it meant.

So my husband helped her to look it up in Wikipedia.  The origins of the sign symbolized the dove and the olive branch.  It was then adopted as an international symbol by the anti-war protestors of the Baby Boom Generation.

The same generation that heaped shame upon legions of embattled soldiers returning home from fighting a war in Viet Nam.

This is a symbol that is now appearing on signs of wackos showing up at the funerals of American men and women who have died serving our country in recent months.  I’ve seen the faces of these families.  Wracked with days and days of grief.

We want our children to understand what they stand for.  If they gravitate to a symbol, they need to know the full implications and meaning of that symbol.

I want nothing more than for my children to grow up in a safe world, where peace is the norm.

But as we know from history, if our land is at peace, and if we are enjoying the fruits of freedom, a high price has already been paid.

My heart goes out to the families of our fallen soldiers.  And those men and women who are putting themselves in harms way so that my children can grow up within safe borders?

You have my utmost respect and undying gratitude.

Updated to add: After reading the comments, I felt the need to clarify.  Please don’t misunderstand, I am a supporter of peace.  I understand that we all desire peace, especially the people serving in the military.

What I’m venting about is how a symbol that first represented the peace we all desire, is forever associated with an anti-war mentality that shuns the very people responsible for keeping our borders safe.

Believe it or not, when I sat down to write this post, it was going to be light.  But as I typed, so many old emotions surfaced from my youth.  When I tell you that this blog is my brain dump,  I am not kidding.  🙂

Love you guys. I think this is some good discussion. I just want you to know my intent.

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven:
a time to be born and a time to die, 
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal, 
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh, 
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain,
a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend, 
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate, 
a time for war and a time for peace.

~Ecclesiastes 3: 1-8

13 Responses to Peace Out

  • Well said…well said indeed.

  • Sadly due to man’s sin nature there will always be evil in this world (at least until Christ’s return) & this evil is not a respector of peace. There will always be a need for military strength. I totally respect our armed forces & their loved ones. It is a tough job & sadly, frequently unappreciated.
    Very well said indeed.

  • Thank you! I agree, very well said! Great thinking on Fiddledaddy’s part, I would have also brushed it off as a fad. I come from a military family, we have lost family members in past wars. My oldest daughter has joined the AF ROTC and plans to serve as a nurse. I am both proud and terrified for her.
    I will keep praying for all our military men and women.

  • I don’t get it. (even went to the wiki article)

    It’s okay, I’ll totally play the dummy here and tell you, I really don’t get it.

    I served in the military and my husband retired from it. My Daddy served during the Vietnam era — so did most of the men in my family.

    The one thing I can tell you the military members value more than anything is PEACE. Fighting for our freedoms is a necessary evil, not something that the military wants to do.

    It was, and is, wrong to belittle the sacrifices of our military members. . .but asking for peace? Heck no! Ask for it! Demand it! Make it happen!

    The thing is, the military desperately wants you to fight for peace. . .so they don’t have to fight.

    Remember, the military is the mighty arm of the diplomats. . .If they don’t / can’t do their job; that’s when the military get called in to do theirs.

    Each of you is part of that diplomatic corp. Maybe not in an official capacity, but a personal beacon to those whose lives you touch.

    Touch them with peace.

    (PS I do understand what you say about people being rude at a funeral service. They are idiots. But that does not make the symbol bad, nor the idea behind it. The problem is those idiots won’t make it happen; maybe your child will?)

  • I have to agree with Christine. I served 6 years in the Navy during the time of Desert Storm/Desert Sheild and I know that everyone I worked with would have
    prefered peace.

  • Your parents may have also not wanted you to wear it because of the rumor that it was really supposed to be a broken, upside-down cross, and therefore anti-God. My mother to this day believes that, even though I’ve told her it’s not.

  • Dee Dee,

    I, too, am a child of the 60’s and remember all these events well. And when I got to the end of your post, I got the goosebumps because it was no accident that Ecc. 3 was my Bible reading for this morning.

    Today is the three year anniversary of the Virginia Tech shooting. I will neVer forgeT this day, for my son sent me a text message from under his desk in the Engineering building where the shooter was roaming the halls. And said he was okay and didn’t want me to worry when I saw the news. He lost several professors and classmates that day. Four months later, he was jumped on campus by four Asian guys, beaten, kicked and left for dead. He is fine today but still carries scars from his VT days.

    I am also the mother of a Marine son who served in Iraq. He is still healing and trying to move forward with his life.

    Many lives are forever changed when there is no peace.

    Blessings to you on this day and every day. Really enjoy your posts even though I don’t always comment.

  • I understood you. And as an Army wife, thank you. My husband, and his special skill set, will always be needed somewhere in order to make sure that the rest of us can walk around in peace and oblivion here. It’s fine. He accepts that with honor. But it sure is nice to hear hear it recognized. 🙂

  • I just returned from Ohio. The trip was to visit my grandfather who was recently diagnosed with lung cancer. He is a Pearl Harbor survivor. Has 21 battle stars. He has a purple heart. We learned alot from him on this trip. So coming from this mindset, I stand up and say, “AMEN!” to your post. Peace at any cost, is not truly peace. Lets honor the men and women who serve.

    P.S. I came to your web for some light hearted humor…but glad I got even more than that!

  • As the wife of a soldier currently serving in Afghanistan, thank you for this post. Thank you for supporting the military.

  • I am a child of the 60’s too and was also told to put away my peace necklace. I can relate to alot of the memories in your post. My dad is 84 and still can’t stand Hanoi Jane (Fonda). I’m sure my brother serving two tours with the Marines in Vietnam has something to do with that. That and the fact that her actions were traitorous. Anyway, thanks for the support towards the military. My 15 yr old wants to be a pilot in the Air Force and is going to an Aerospace Academy to help that dream come true. That means I will be a military mom someday. Scary thing for me but it is what he wants to do.

  • I have always been told that the peace sign was the broken cross, and therefore, Christians should not use it.
    So, I have to say that reading the Wiki article was enlightening.
    Of course we want peace! Of course we understand that even our military servants want peace. But the fact remains that this symbol was designed to protest the war, and therefore was an emblem that expressed lack of support for our military.
    War is a necessary tool, unfortunately. In order to procure peace, there must be those who enforce it.

  • Thank you for posting this. I have been shocked to see this symbol coming back into mainstream use.

    From my perspective, it stands for “peace at any price.”

    Some things are worth fighting for.