‘Honor the sacrifice’

| 06 Nov 2012 | 05:08

The play “Goliath” will be performed Veterans Day, Sunday, Nov. 11, at 7:30 p.m. at the Sugar Loaf Performing Arts Center.

Honor a vet by seeing it.

Honor a vet by bringing a vet with you.

It is not for children but older teens, especially those considering enlistment, would learn much.

It may be silence and invisibility more than PTSD killing our vets.

Silent vets.

Silent families.

Silent communities.

Silent nation.

Eighteen suicides a day. One every 80 minutes; 65,000 suicides a year.

There is always a war after the war, after every war.

Goliath is based on the true story of a young American soldier in Iraq but much of it also tells every soldier’s story. Every day there are vets going to their graves with their stories never told or heard. Please don’t let silence dig their graves. There are an estimated 28,000 vets in Orange County. Most are silent. Most are invisible.

We, as a nation, are constantly at war, but we don’t talk about it much. The personal silence of vets is compounded by the silence of communities and of the nation. Not talking about the consequences of war in our lives – and it affects most of us – perpetuates the culture of war.

The sign on the door at Walter Reed Army Hospital reads: “I gave my face for my country. What did you do?”

What does it mean to serve your nation, to defend your country, to go to war?

It begins with the word service. Choosing to serve your country in the military is a very complex decision, one that often affects us the rest of our lives. Goliath explores the war before the war, the war and then the war after the war with great insight and respect.

If you have a vet in your family, if you love a vet, if you honor vets go see Goliath. Take a vet with you. The performance will be followed by a discussion.

Speaking and writing about the unspeakable begins to transform the unspeakable, take away its power to silence.

Please see the play. Please talk about it.

Silence and invisibility after war is often self-destructive. There are 30,000 military coming home from Afghanistan between now and Christmas.

How are you going to greet them?

With a cliché? “Thanks for your service”

Honor the sacrifice. Ask about the positives. Engagement is key. Reach out. Keep reaching out. Bring a vet home for a meal. Ask your religious leaders to not only take the time to publicly acknowledge veterans but to set some time aside to meet and greet.

Maybe our towns and villages could issue special wrist bands or buttons for vets. Wearing one would be an invitation to talk. Many vets do not want to self-identify but with some encouragement might.

Some veterans can’t speak for themselves and some speak so quietly we may not hear them. Please, dear civilians, do not be deaf or blind to them. May the eyes and ears of our hearts be open to vets.

Everett Cox