I found this in an earlier Facebook Note, and I wanted to share it, being July 4th. It’s something I had written for an online creative writing class one summer with DVC, and I’m posting it unedited:
“In the pen dance day”
these red and white bars behind which I sleep
represent feelings of war and peace,
but if there is peace
there is no need for war
white stars hang high in the dark blue sky
parading their magnificence for all to see
but what good do they serve if they stay protected from the battle between red and white?
back and forth taking turns
like seasons of war and peace
the red and white bars alternate
but we start with war
and do not end in peace
now what does that say about US
maybe we should look at ourselves
and discover what we symbolize
The pictured ensign I received from the crew (I almost said “cast” hahaha) of the USS Hyman G Rickover, SSN-709, when I had re-enlisted in October of 2002. I still have it, and it currently sits shoddily folded on top of my shelf. It hasn’t touched the ground, and I have yet to get a shadow box for it.
Yes, if you didn’t know, I’m a US Navy veteran, ’99-’04, honorably discharged for medical reasons. No, I didn’t go to Iraq, or anywhere else in the Middle East, and to some ignorant civilians, my lack of participation in OIF/OEF completely negates my service in the US Armed Forces. This fact has raised a point of contention in more than a couple of instances, all of which, I wish it hadn’t.
In a complaint speech assignment for a speech class at DVC, I chose the “oh, you weren’t in Iraq” topic as my target. To my recollection, the outstanding statistic from that speech was that approximately 73% of the US Armed Forces would not be stationed/deployed to the Middle East. Seventy-three percent. But thanks to the media and narrow-minded scope of many, serving in Afghanistan is the only noble way to validate your time in the military. Not to say that those serving out there are negligible, far from, what I’m saying is the other side, don’t view the rest of us as negligible.
Obviously, I can only speak for myself, so please don’t take this as a generalization of veterans’ opinions. Luckily, my separation from the military means I won’t have to go east to serve, but that doesn’t change the fact that I served in a different way—a much different way—aboard a submarine. Not only that, but the Rickover was apart from any battle group.
It’s getting late, and I can always come back to this later, but I wanted to post this to share the free write poem from 2008 and to toss a little knowledge out there.
Happy Independence Day, USA. Everyone be safe and enjoy the day.