In the wake of a huge catastrophe, we tend to rely on experts, in this case, geologists to lecture us on aftershocks, fault line, Pacific Ring of Fire etc…
We tend to miss the human dimension of unsung heroes, the peacemakers.
There were a Japanese crew, earthquake experts, in New Zealand trying to help out in anyway they could. Little did they know, more abrupt crises awaiting them at home.
Venturing beyond one’s border for the sakes of others, to pay forward.
That’s the mission of a peacemaker. During the Haiti quake, then Gov. of FL refused to let relief efforts to use his home state as a base of operations.
Those who cross the cultures (Euro-centric to Pacific Rim for instance, or in the case of our current United Nations Secretary General, Ban Ki Moon from Korea, who has his hand full of crises) encounter both culture shock and reverse culture shock. Those who return from war abroad also face Post-Traumatic Disorder syndrome (the Deer Hunter, Born on the Fourth of July) being misunderstood and marginalized (De Niro played a returning veteran who asked the taxi driver to keep going, pass his welcome-home party).
This week, CNN showed a short video of “soldier surprised daughter at school” in Idaho.
The 9-year-old said it was like in a dream (upon spotting her still-in-uniform Daddy
show up at school after finishing his tour of duty).
The scene has been repeated many times in American history
(children running to the tarmac greeting returning fathers – You Tube
video for Reflections of My Life by the Marmalades).
We now have a second generation – children of Vietnam era and nemesis i.e.- flower children – both wanting to to know what’s it like for their fathers to leave the comfort of the then-Middle class environment to engage in unpopular battles on the other side of the world.
Even when trying hard, they could only walk a mile in their shoes, albeit as backpacking tourists.
(recently two young American females died along with many others in a tourist boat accident. )
Three and a half decades after it ended, this war still has some legs. Last month, Prime Minister of Australia pledged more money to support a Vietnam Memorial Center, to bring world attention to the hefty price Australians paid during this “American war” as known in Vietnam. No one said it better than John Savage, one of the four main characters in the Deer Hunter ” I don’t fit in” (back on a wheel chair , playing Bingo in a Pittsburgh nursing home).
So once again, we rely on musicians to help us sort through our conflicting emotions. In said movie, it’s a guitar piece from the Shadows.
Blessed are the peacemakers. For they gave their lives and limps for the idea and ideal of freedom taken for granted by us here in the West.