This morning, Monday May 31, 2021, at 9:30 on the Minnesota State Capitol grounds, at the Vietnam Memorial, will be the annual Veterans for Peace observance of Memorial Day. Except for last year, when the Pandemic made it a virtual event, it has been at the same site for almost all of the 18 years I’ve known about it. I rarely miss it. I’ll be there again this year. All are welcome. It is always meaning-filled.
The last year, particular beginning with the Pandemic, have seared us all.
This year my focus on this day is the contents of a single page piece of mail I received from my friend Padre Johnson on May 23. Here it is in pdf form padre johnson philosophy, below in jpeg. It is shared with his permission.
I’ve known Padre for more than a dozen years. He’s my senior by a couple of years. This one page creed is a single sentence, every phrase within food for personal thought by myself…and anyone. He lives this creed.
A descriptor of Padre’s amazing career from 1992 is summarized here: Padre Johnson 20200304_12272801. In specific context with today, here’s the portion about his service in the U.S. military: “…he was officially assigned for the first time in American military history to serve in an independent duty position as both the chaplain and in a leading field medical officer position with his Black Beret “River Raider” Assault force One Special Forces unit in Vietnam’s Mekong Delta Region. For his many successful life saving medical rescue mission efforts under some of the most impossible combat situations during which he was twice wounded in two separate battles he was very highly decorated with two Silver Stars, the Legion of merit with Valor, the Bronze Star, the Vietnamese Cross and two Purple Hearts – becoming one of the highest decorated chaplains and medical officers in the history of the U.S. military.”
Here is the front cover of the book which includes the above descriptor: Over a period of about 13 years, Padre spent significant time with people in 149 countries and all U.S. states. The resulting art, by Padre, became a major exhibition at the United Nations in New York in 1992.
Let there be peace within ourselves, our families, our neighborhood,our communities, our countries, our world.
POSTNOTE: I also want to call attention to another gift, received recently from my friend and peace activist, David Logsdon, former President of VFP27.
POSTNOTE 2, after The Vets for Peace gathering: Memorial Day is complicated, granted. It is a day to remember those who died in service to or country. But is is also good day to party and celebrate, etc. etc. We watched the annual PBS Memorial Day Concert last night. The emphasis was again on 9-11-01 and foreign wars, nary a mention of domestic in-tranquility, like Jan. 6, 2021. We are a nation badly divided.
It is as it is. I was at the annual event of Vets for Peace. It is my tradition. It was nice as always. Beautiful weather. There were about 100 of us, which is pretty usual. Mostly the folks who have organized it for years are Vietnam Vets, not high on war, certainly.
from Judy: A Blessed Memorial Day to you Dick who always remembers