Just

I remember the last information on the news
Body Bag count

I remember wearing the POW bracelet
connected each day to a life either lost or missing

I do not remember hearing stories from my father
and his fighting in WWII

I remember telling veterans
in an arrogant youthful innocent voice
You had a choice. You didn’t have to go.
Before I truly understood how
words are the first weapon of choice

I remember being taught the
Just War theory and getting that sick feeling
that what I was being taught was not true

I remember arguing with the person on the phone
someone from Selective Service
when I was told that there was no option to declare
conscious objector until being called to service

I remember hearing story after story, with great sadness
the cost of refusing to answer the call to military service

I remember bringing home the book “Johnny Got His Gun” by Dalton Trumbo
and being told I was not allowed to read the book.
I remember reading it
shocked at the treatment of veterans
by the country that called them to arms

I remember those who lost lives, limbs, dignity
in the name of war
I remember them each time I advocate for the
choice
action
courage of
non-violence
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Intrusion

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On my early morning walk, when I reach the traffic light, I have the choice of pressing the button to cross. It’s the same decision I have later in the day, when the road is filled with cars moving from place to place.
Early in the morning, when the quiet is loud, when the color of the sky is emerging, the traffic light stands out more as an intrusion. Later in the day, when movement is based on work, appointments, schedules, the beauty of the sunrise is overpowered. As people drive, talk on their cell phone, grab a bite to eat, the traffic light becomes essential to the pace of life.
There is a freedom in the morning, before the demands of the day fill my head. There is no need to push a button to stop traffic, to change the pace of my stride. Later in the day, when I become too busy to remember compassion, forgiveness, joy, I reach for the button in my heart to slow the intrusions in my mind.