Coming to Peace and Living a Consistent Life after Military Service
By Eve (Dawn Kuha)
As an Iraq War Veteran I can tell you that when we come home, we deal with the stigma that we are “violent” people. After hearing this accusation over and over, a Veteran starts to wonder if this is in fact truth. We start to question our actions in the service to our country. We wonder if there was something we could have done better to lessen the loss of lives. Veterans know the cost of war. It is coming to peace with ourselves that becomes the biggest struggle.
You may ask “How can we come to peace?” I would suggest first to accept that you are only human. We all make mistakes. It is imperative that you understand why you did not stand up against the actions you did not agree with at the time. You must forgive yourself.
Each veteran had their own personal reasons to join a branch in the military. For some it was service to their country. For others, it was stability for their family, help with college, or to better their life. The grand majority of the time our reasoning was honorable.
Sadly, once we sign our name on the line, we then have no other choice but to do what our country asks of us. Service members then have to fear speaking out against the actions the military orders them to do. The reasoning is that the military could come down hard on the service member. Anywhere from an Article 15 to jail time. An Article 15 is a way to punish the service member without court martial. The punishment can be anywhere from loss of rank and pay, a lowering of rations while overseas on ships, to confinement to “correct” the service member.
So when coming to peace with our actions, we must remember we did many under duress. If you believed the actions you were ordered to do were the right actions for the time, you can look back and recognize the wrong. Acknowledging the wrong is the first step to healing.
This is why veterans can find a place in the Consistent Life Ethic. This is why we choose to live a Consistent Life. To never see these terrible wrongs happen again. You can stand strong and work to give current military personnel a voice. Stop the use of our service members as expendable cannon fodder. We must stand up for the future generations. Those that do not want to be used to expand the political and corporate agendas. You are not a “violent” person. You are a human being with a heart and honor. Show the world that veterans are loving people.
Please take a moment and think of how your courage could save lives. The lives of the citizens in other countries; as well as the lives of our Brothers and Sisters in Arms. Look at the damage caused to these countries. Look at the damage caused to our service members. Isn’t it time for a change? Isn’t it time to take action so these events never happen again?
We can live a Consistent Life Ethic after military service. You will not be alone. Many veterans are banding together to work towards peace. Consider joining and volunteering with an organization to help our voice be heard. Consistent Life, Veterans for Peace, and Iraq Veterans Against War will all stand with you.
Peace and Love to all of my Brothers and Sisters in Arms.
For more blog posts on personal journeys, see:
Supporting the Dignity of Every Life (Bill Samuel)
Nukes and the Pro-Life Christian: A Conservative Takes a Second Look at the Morality of Nuclear Weapons (Karen Swallow Prior)
Off the Fence and Taking My Stand on Abortion (Mary Liepold)
On Being a Consistent Chimera (Rob Arner)