Remembering War

The anniversary of the end of the Vietnam war today. I remember that ending. Sadly, I saw this anniversary mentioned in few places in the internet world/news. NPR had a story about visiting the memorial wall, which I have also seen. But other than that the internet seems to be full of the usual celebrity fluff, cat videos, and tag lines such as ‘When I saw this it blew my mind!’ and prompts such as ‘Hit Like if you agree!’. Oh, and please let us not forget invitations to play games.

This anniversary though, is especially poignant for me because these were young men, 18, 19 years old. The age of my son right now. I worry about his ability to grocery shop let alone heading over to be part of things no one should have to go through. And yet, have we as a people learned anything? At the end of each war we think, now we know better, now there will be no more. At least until the next one. I would like to start a debate, even at the risk of that debate becoming a shit-storm.

Please don’t interpret my comments that follow as support of Hilary Clinton, or as a slam against specific religions or even about race. I don’t mean to slide into arguments/discussions that can’t be resolved, such as religion and politics. I’m talking war here, nothing more. Although, that topic, too, will never be resolved.

It seems, throughout modern history, we have been led by men and there has been war. I have no facts to back this up as I am not a philosopher, sociology professor, anthropologist, or historian. Yet it seems to me when there have been riots as are happening frequently now, the looting and destruction are predominantly young men. I ask, what is it about men of a certain age, to seek out violence? Of all the murders committed throughout society, what is the percentage of male killers vs. female killers?

When a man sends a son off to war it appears to be a fearful moment of pride. When a woman sends a son off to war it seems to be just fear. Yes, yes, I know that’s a broad generalization. I know there are exceptions to everything we say. Yet I still can’t help but wonder what would happen if we returned to a matriarchal society, to women who were healers and mothers first. To religion that recognized the female as equally divine, such as goddess and god, not just a male God. Again, I am not slamming or supporting one religion over another, just wondering what would happen.

Honestly, I think in these days not much would change in spite of a somewhat idealized hope. After all, we have women in the military, women are strong and capable and able to fight, shoot, and defend. And as a woman I’m proud of that.

But would there be war?

I guess we won’t know until a day when our leadership is not made up of only old, rich men.

For today, I remember Vietnam, those who never returned, those who returned but never healed, and those who had to let them go. I remember all who were touched by that war, on all sides of the conflict.