Today is Veteran’s Day, when we honor the people over the years who have risked/given their lives to keep the rest of us, and our democracy, safe. While we may have differing opinions on the wisdom of war as a means to safety or peace, we all agree on the value of life and the primacy of love. These individuals exhibited great courage and devotion—qualities of Love. As a consequence, many gave their lives and many returned from war with huge scars on their bodies, hearts, and minds. On this Veteran’s Day, let us send a wave of gratitude toward them. Let us affirm that they are whole in their essence and the Christ Light shines as each one of them. Let us pay attention politically and support legislation that supports them in their return. Let us send another wave of gratitude to their families who were affected most deeply by their sacrifice. We have veterans in our Unity Spiritual Community. We all know other veterans. If you know one, maybe send a card? At least send a prayer. They are heroes among us and love and appreciation are more powerful than any wound.

One of our members, who served in the US Army for 39 years, shared a heartfelt and emotional poem she wrote shortly after returning from one of her deployments to Afghanistan. We’ve shared it below. She also did a powerful talk sharing her insights on what it means to serve and how our views of the military have changed over the years because the number of people serving or who have a connection to the military has drastically declined over the past few decades. I encourage you to take the time to watch her speech HERE.

At Unity Spiritual Community of Central Oregon, we strive to be inclusive and create a space where everyone feels welcomed. When we better understand another person’s story, or perspective, it enables us to do a much better job of that. Thank you COL Pamela Mindt for sharing your experience with such heartfelt words.

COL (ret)Pamela S Mindt

Love of Country
Murmurs of the maimed

Hanging lifeless  my body  gives it form
One leg then the other…
One arm then the other…
Button meets buttonhole
Belt moves slowly through
Pull it tight.
My meaning in its cover

Boots a wait
One foot then the other
Laces move slowly through the eyelets.
Head turns to ultimate protection
Plates made not for food
Weight of its duty.
My meaning in its cover

Hands reach for lethality
Sleek friend of fire.
Power in its capability
Mind drunk with wonder
Ballistic eyewear across my sight,
Barrier to what might be.
My meaning in its coverMemories of what was left behind
Pictures of loved ones
Last letter in its place.
Gloves come on
One hand then the other
Transformation complete.
My meaning in its cover

Warrior returns home
Uniform tattered.
Body..mind…heart…soul lifeless.
Plates of armor replaced by moments of horror
Welcoming embraces warming only briefly
Fantasies of what will be never grasped.
My meaning no longer in its cover

Home is where I go
Out of the light darkness arrives.
No place to be lifeless
Longing for acceptance battles what is
Return no victory
War wages on.. blood in the name of love to be spilled.
My meaning no longer in its cover

Struggling to undress
Wounds left untended
Claims of betrayal my companion.
Being back turns to regret
Betrayal fills my breaths, sighs, tears
No protection offered.
Meaning no longer in its cover

Uniform remains intact
Peace not to be found
Flames burning silently
Retreat is my destiny
Lay down my arm’s becomes my mission
Moving to become whole is my wish.
My meaning no longer in its cover

Fingers slide to release the pressure
One leg then the other
Down my core the zipper travels
Opened… my nakedness exposed
Fear, doubt, shame, betrayal, beckoning for death revealed
No room for the pure heart.
My meaning no longer in its cover

No one is my desire for company
Sit with my demons
Wake up to longing
Find sleep through the howls of loneliness.
Familiarity is absent
No comfort in my solitude.
My meaning no longer in its cover

Hangar removed
Hands reach for the cloth that was once meaning
Cloth finds its place
Closet makes room for its return
I sit …no way to shed my skin
No room for my return.
My meaning no longer in its cover

Reaching out to what once had meaning
Tears fill my room
Heart sighs from burdens
Hands no longer embrace lethality
Body longs for touch
Being longs for a presence.
My meaning no longer in its cover

No company afforded the past
Death has claimed many a soul
War has lost many more.
Beckoning as it hangs lifeless
Body no longer willing
Soul no longer for the taking.
My meaning no longer in its cover.

Love of Country
Murmurs of the maimed

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