May 28, 2007
“Wars are poor chisels for carving out peaceful tomorrows.”
-Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Here’s to my dad.
He was in the 34th Infantry, “Red Bull Division” during the end of the second world war and the liberation of the concentration camps. I know this only because of the pictures I found after he died. They were kept in an old shirt box along with other items that led me to verify what I had already believed; that what happened to him during his length of service was life changing. They said he was not the same when he came home. How could he be?
He never talked about the war, but it was with him all the time.
Willi put the flag out in front of the house today. My dad would have expected that. My brother and I were taught early on to respect the flag, what it represented, and those who carried it into battle. This became a part of who I am and has stayed with me all these years.
I long for peace.
I think my dad did, too.
He was beside himself the day before our neighbor left for Vietnam. They had become friends while they built a retaining wall in the back yard. I watched as they shook hands before he left and I saw the look on my dad’s face as he walked across the street for the last time. I remember how it scared me.
Lance Corporal Bruce Wayne Staehli disappeared on April 30, 1968, near the city of Dong Ha, South Vietnam.
He’s still missing in action.
And here we are, Dad. We’re doing the same damn thing all over again.
Will we ever learn?
“Standing out here in the desert
Trying to protect an oil line
I’d really like to do my job but
This ain’t the country that I had in mind
They call this a war on terror
I see a lot of civilians dying
Mothers, sons, fathers and daughters
Not to mention some friends of mine
Some friends of mine”
– from “Twenty”, Robert Cray (2005)
The Eyes Wide Open exhibit is featured in Robert Cray’s music video commemorating the soldiers whose lives are taken by the Iraq war…
Indiana Rolling Thunder ”To Correct the Past and Protect the Future.”