[pjw] A veteran writes about Memorial Day (Voices for Creative Nonviolence 5/27)

Peace and Justice Works pjw at pjw.info
Mon May 27 14:26:07 EDT 2019

PJW supporters
We held Peace and Justice Fairs in 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1997 and 1999 
on Memorial Day to remember those who died in war by working toward a 
world without war. Then 9/11 happened and we've been in perpetual war ever 

Below is an essay forwarded by our friends at Voices for Creative 
Nonviolence. There are some mildly harsh words which aren't all fully 
spelled out and which aren't for everyone's tastes but I think the overall 
sentiment by this veteran are important to share.

--dan handelman
peace and justice works

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Mon, 27 May 2019 10:26:09
From: Voices for Creative Nonviolence <info at vcnv.org>
Subject: Memorial Day - Francis Pauc

Frank Pauc is a longtime Voices friend and supporter: his website is 

Memorial Day
Francis Pauc
May 26th, 2019

The sun came out today. It's been gone for a while. That means all of the 
lawnmowers came out too. It's been soggy around here, and any chance for a 
fellow suburbanite to cut the grass is taken up immediately. It's loud 
outside. It sounds like the humming of dozens of gasoline-powered bees. I 
mowed the front yard yesterday, and that was enough for now. The backyard 
will probably be a swamp until July. It's best that I leave it alone.

Today is Sunday, so it's not actually Memorial Day yet. But it feels like 
it. I can see the American flags popping up all over the place. I have 
read the ads in the paper for the Memorial Day Weekend sales. There is 
that noxious faux patriotism that infects everything, at least for the 
next couple days. It doesn't matter. By Tuesday, nobody will give a f* 
about the soldiers who died defending this country. By Tuesday, nobody 
will remember the veterans who are crippled and maimed. By Tuesday, people 
will pretend that we are not a country at war.

That's just how it is in America.

I walked to church this morning. It's seven miles from our house to St. 
Rita Parish. I enjoyed the walk. I was alone, and I could listen to the 
birds, and I could examine the flowers of a belated Wisconsin spring. It 
took a little over two hours for me to walk to Mass. I am very grateful 
for those two hours.

I got to our church, and I spoke to one of our ushers (greeters). Dan 
shook my hand and said, "Happy Memorial Day!" He knew that I was a vet. I 
thought for a moment, and then I told Dan,

"You know, Dan, my son, Hans, sometimes tells me that he doesn't like it 
when people say 'Happy Memorial Day!' It's not a happy day. It's a day to
mourn, a day to remember. Hans has told me that he prefers when people 
say, 'Have a good Memorial Day.' That seems to work better."

Dan considered that, and said, "Yeah, I think I will try that in the 


I served as lector at Mass this morning. That means that I read from the 
Scriptures in front of the assembled believers. It also means that I read 
the "Prayers of the Faithful," the combined petitions of our Catholic 
community. That part was difficult, very difficult.

Being that it is a national holiday, there were several prayers concerning 
soldiers, dead or living. Keep in mind that I have skin in the game. I am 
a veteran, although (through the mercy of God) not a combat vet. Our 
oldest son, Hans, is a combat vet. He fought in Iraq, and he came back 
here all screwed up.One of the communal prayers said, "We pray for all 
veterans, that they may be healed of any physical and mental wounds." 
Since I was at the microphone, I added "and any spiritual wounds," because 
all of these bastards have spiritual wounds. Every one of them.

The next prayer was for the end of wars. That's where I nearly lost it. I 
had not planned on it. It just happened.

I prayed, "Let us pray for the end of ALL WARS!" I damn near screamed that 
out. The congregation yelled back to me, "LORD, hear out prayer!" I had to 
pause for a bit. My mind reeled, and my chest heaved. Even now, I feel 
overwhelmed. I just wanted to cry. I kept going, somehow. I cried later.

In a way, it's too hard. I can't stop all the violence. I can't.

I do what little I can do. That has to be enough.

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