On a startling sunny day in April, 1984, I stood before the Vietnam War Memorial in Washington D.C. overwhelmed by the experience of thousands of lives reduced to letters chiseled out of stark black granite. As if shadows of children cast upon the wall as they lay mementos of their loved one wasn’t enough to bear, four fresh young men came to vigil, their uniforms creating a macabre dance of shadows both real and anticipated. I wept then and I weep now.
On this day, March 7, 1965, the first U.S. combat troops were sent to Vietnam. My spiritual practice today will be to take inventory of my commitment to nonviolence, and to make reparation by revisiting the Wall. I will call those men by name and ask forgiveness. I will call to mind all who lost their lives in that war. I will ask for God’s gracious mercy toward all of us who had the need to wage that war. Most of all, I will hold dear the broken lives of my peers who returned from that war hopeless and who still need us.
The Wall of Faces: http://www.vvmf.org/Wall-of-Faces/