On my way to Vermont to pick up my final study, I flew on a plane that was bringing one of our fallen soldiers home to his final resting place. I don’t know a lot about the military, so I was surprised when the flight attendant asked all of the passengers to remain seated so that a fellow passenger and soldier could exit the plane first in order to accompany his fallen comrade. Whether I agree with the war or not, I am comforted by the idea that our soldier isn’t just being shipped home, he or she is being respectfully brought home.
The flight was late and making my connection was going to be really tight, but all of that meant nothing. In fact, I felt honored to be on the flight, like I was part of something very important. What, I wasn’t sure, but it felt big. Regardless of anyone’s faith, politics, nationality and even sexual orientation, for a brief moment, we were all in solidarity, proud, honored and humbled. Then I thought of the family waiting for their child to come home for the last time. My heart broke. I prayed for the family, the fallen soldier and his companion and then I prayed that we all would treat every soldier as if he or she were our own child. If every man and woman (yes, every politician) did that, maybe we’d approach things differently.
I’m not one who thinks I have all the answers. I don’t. I have even been guilty of being a bit too Pollyanna on occasion. But I do believe if we all just stopped for one second, shut our pie holes and saw the beauty in each other’s differences, we’d be in a hell of a lot better shape than we are now. Can we just drop the whole idea of needing to be right? Can we, just for a moment, remember that any person we are against is someone’s child? If we could remember that, there would be no war or dead soldiers who need to be accompanied home. I know it’s idealistic to think a truly peaceful world is possible, but until it is… let’s do our best to take care of each other, love each other, and treat each other with respect.