Service, Sacrifice, And Eternal Honor Amid Some Shattered Souls

Service, Sacrifice, And Eternal Honor Amid Some Shattered Souls
By Lawrence Ventline

07.23 Ventline, Lukas John

Conflict in homes and one’s own heart where all hell begins confounds and creates controversy and confusion.
Even chaos. Sides and lines in the ground are drawn.
When my brother Lukas, 23, was killed in Vietnam in 1968, along with some 58,000 others, let alone the numbers killed among the opponents, I was forced to wonder about war’s worth.

“Lukas brought us one step closer to peace,” said Father Leonard Chrobot, who preached at the funeral in St. Thomas the Apostle Church, Detroit. He was academic dean at St. Mary’s College, Orchard Lake where I was a freshman.

Last night, a neighbor in Rivertown where I reside at Jefferson and McDougall, said his twin brother is still a prisoner of war in Vietnam. That stirred more imaginings in my mind and heart. Trails of ache haunt humans long and deep with a poking pain.

Although I needed to watch “Hamburger Hill,” and all the other movies on Vietnam to heal up, accepting that war’s reality alone gave me a sense of closure to remember the hole in my heart, for sure, but, to finally move on, to let go.

The poem by Alfred, Lord Tennyson, 1870, “The Charge of the Light Brigade,” helped to heal my hurts, also.

“When can their glory fade?
O the wild charge they made!
All the world wondered.
Honor the Light Brigade,
Noble six hundred
All that was left of them,
Left of six hundred.
Cossack and Russian
Reel’d from the sabre strike.
Into the valley of death rode the six hundred.

…Someone had blundered.

…Theirs not to make reply,
Theirs not to reason why,
Theirs but to do and die.”

The misery and mystery of war merged as the pouring rain wed with my own tears at the vigil that Veterans’ Day weekend in Washington, D.C., when the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Constitution Garden was dedicated.
As I found my brother’s name on the granite wall, the water poured down like the grief I grieved for years over my oldest of six siblings.

May no one ever shame the service, the suffering and the sacrifice of the many we honor always and forever.
I am one grateful heart for those who serve and those who meet daily to heal the hurt of war’s wounds.
Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and, may perpetual light shine upon them.

 

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