A writing workshop for military veterans introduced me to warriors who had become pacifists. I worried that my views and beliefs would not be welcome here, but I was completely wrong. They accepted me just as I am. The Warrior Writers project came to a local community college to help the instructors understand their soldier students in hopes of encouraging more success. They then gave a writing workshop I was allowed to participate in.
The veterans voiced their jaded views about the many SUVs with yellow ribbon magnets on them. “I’d like to write ‘blood for oil’ on all of them and see if anyone get it,” one man said. All of them, men and women, didn’t know what to say to some stranger who approached them to say, “Thank you for your service.” None of them wanted to be called a hero. They had doubts about what they had done and why.
One Veteran’s Poetry
Here is a poem by Michael Applegate, a veteran, from a collection of writing and art called Warrior Writers. The book was put together and published in 2014 by the Warrior Writers Project. He seems like a pacifist to me.
Please don’t call me a hero, I’ll break down and cry
I didn’t do it for you, I believed in their lies
Please don’t make me your martyr, because I did not die
Others suffered far worse, people we’ve come to despise
Please don’t pity me for joining, because I was poor
Money for college? My soul now a whore
Please don’t believe security’s worth trading freedoms for
Remember to honor the warrior and not the war!
Please don’t think patriotism is black and white,
Dissent is in my blood, I will stand up and fight
Please don’t let us approach democracy’s twilight
It’s more than just paper, our Bill of Rights
Please don’t listen to pundits from the Pentagon
Truth, the first casualty, the search will go on
Please don’t sit back and watch it all come undone
We must all fight for change, E Pluribus Unum!
Please don’t stop loving this country, yours and mine,
I need your help; and we’re running out of time
Please don’t forgive them for their war crimes
Treason murder, these things not sublime
Please don’t label me a commie, hippie or coward
My conscience my guide, peace is the way forward
Please don’t leave us behind, like trash to discard
We are more than just sheep that suicide has slaughtered
Please don’t just pray that things will get better
Try just a little, we can at least write a letter
Please don’t trust them, not one fucking senator
They’re all alike, they’d pimp their own mother
Please don’t hate me if you disagree with what I say
Freedom of speech, my gift to you, don’t take it away
Please don’t allow this to go on; not one more day
The longer this goes on, the more we all pay.