What we remember as a country transcends time and space. What we take the time to remember keeps us connected to what or who we remembered long after they or it is gone.
Isn't that amazing? To be able to remember means that we can keep certain things with us; in the forefront of our consciousness.
Over the next few paragraphs I will remember what stands out for me as I go over some of our nation's conflicts. I encourage you to allow whatever memory comes up for you to be experienced in the body.
Just let your attention spread out to the edges of you body. As you see a picture or read a word notice if anything else pops up.
World War II
Both of my grandfathers fought in WWII. Poppa John in Europe. Grandpa King in the Pacific. When I think about Grandpa I always think of his Purple Heart. He received it for surviving a gun shot to the chest.
Poppa John is a more visceral memory. He and I never really communicated verbally. It was almost like he was waiting for me to figure it out.
Both these warriors, one a Marine, the other Army, are part of the reason I am here today. Thank you, gentlemen!
Korea makes me remember my mindfulness meditation class at the VA. The first day I didn't know where to sit and a blind gentlemen who served in the Korean War, sensing my confusion offered me the seat next to him. I felt very taken care of by this man. I only saw him a couple other times in class but his demeanor was one of calm strength.
Most of my memories about Vietnam came from books and movies. Vietnam was the war I really looked to as an example of what being a soldier is like. I looked up to the Rambo, lone wolf type of characters.
This has since changed as a result of my friend, Dan. Dan was a navy officer in Vietnam.
Dan and I work together and after spending some time with him talking about his experience in Nam, I realized that I had only scratched the surface of the different experiences guys had over there.
Dan gave me the below image.
Here is a blown up exposure of the words in the corner.
The American Male is so constituted that it takes a major war between nations, or in his own insides, to make him brave enough to allow another man to love him, or to be...that loving...himself.
This statement was a game changer for me. I think it id the guy by himself that allows for the true beauty of this image to emerge.
I'll never remember Vietnam and not remember that image.
I've always given officers a hard time. They make the descisions and we NCOs and enlisted get the job done. As an NCO my job was the middle man. Lets just say I wasn't always so agreeable with my officers.
Anyway after yesterday I wanna apologize for my harsh sentiments towards the officer core. I think it takes tremendous guts to lead people and if I never showed my appreciation for my officers in Iraq I will attempt to make up for it in the future.
Here is a meditation I created today to honor the officers I served under in Iraq.
What I've understood this mindful Memorial Day, is that its not what we remember, it's that we remember.
That we take the time to just allow what we remember and feel to guide the day. Whether its to a BBQ or what, the fact that we as a nation take time to remember the sacrifice of our warriors is a testament to the greatness of our society.
It has been my great honor to affiliate Armor Down with Memorial Day.
Another thank you to the Partners.
Northwest Sport and Health
Citizens for Health
Give Back Yoga Foundation
Voices for Hope
This Community was Connected By WeLoo Parks
Hope to see you again for Mindful Memorial Day 2014!
This post was guided by the 63rd stanza of the Art of Peace, a book written by Morihei Ueshiba
Armor Down has a website. Check it out.
If you like the AD Facebook page and I'll email you the PDF of a book called "Mindfulness in Plain English".
Thrive as a civilian.