Fellow Tulsans, you have till Sunday to visit the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Moving Wall located now behind the Union 6th grade center near 61st and Mingo. Please go and honor these men and women who gave their lives in service of our nation, to a cause not everyone was convinced was just, in a world that had believed wars had been fought to end all wars. And now we’re ten years into wars after 9/11, one in Afghanistan that had everything to do with 9/11 and one in Iraq that was based on mistaken intelligence and really had nothing to do with 9/11. Regardless of what you think about war or peace, what your philosophy is, the very least you and I can do is somehow honor those who fought, served, died, survived wars they did not cause or choose but simply did what they were trained to do.
If you are a pacifist you will find more “ammo” for your cause in the horrific stories the wall tells. I read a story written by a army officer who retrieved bodies of fellow soldiers in a downed helicopter in a Michelin rubber plantation in Vietnam after a week of being shot at trying to get to the wreckage. When they finally formed a perimeter and were able to reach the bodies, they were so decomposed the hands fell off when they were pulling them out. He searched the ground to recover all the bones to put in the body bags. Even the death registration troops with them were sickened and had to keep distance from the charred and decomposed bodies. War is horrific, and no one knows this more than those who have been through it.
In front of one of the panels is a photo of the brother of one of my friends and co-workers, Bill Campbell. Bill’s brother, Jimmy Lee Campbell, died in Vietnam in 1970. The photo has the caption, “Thank you Jimmy Lee Campbell . . . we love you and we miss you–Bill and Sue Campbell and Family.” When you see all the flowers and messages like this, it hits home how many people locally are affected by wars our nation fights.
Prayer: Dear God of All Power . . . teach us, teach all nations, that you alone are Lord and sovereign over the whole universe. According to Psalm 46, You make wars cease to the ends of the earth. Make these wars in Iraq and Afghanistan cease. Bring peace on the earth and give food to the hungry, clean water to the thirsty, land to the desolate, jobs to the jobless, health to little children who suffer, and your love to those who know only hatred and conflict and despair.