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An Open Letter to My Country on Veterans Day

from Michael Kane

posted at Nov. 11, 2002

This flag belongs to us all

I was 7 years old when I told my mom if I was drafted, I would go to fight for my country. My mom said, "Why?" I said because Great Grandpa fought in WWI, both of my Grandfathers were in WWII and my dad fought in Vietnam, it was just what I would do.

It was early on a weekend morning, and I was in my parents bedroom. My dad lay there, half conscious, not yet quite awake. My mom said "Dennis, show Michael your scar." My Dad took the covers off of himself, and moved his leg to expose a scar between his genitals and his anus. It was huge, horrifying, and just an inch away from my father being castrated. I would have never been born.

It was shrapnel from a grenade that scarred my father. He was shot two other times in Vietnam, and every time, he was stitched up and sent back into the jungle.

A few years later I asked my dad if he ever killed anybody in Vietnam. He said, "if we heard a noise, we shot in that direction till all our ammo was used up. If anything was there, we killed it."

My dad also told me that going to Vietnam saved, and changed, his life. He was raised to be a racist, but all that changed when he worked with Black men, side by side, and saw the dignity and honor all people are capable of if they choose it. This Veterans Day, I pray for the Veterans who have lost their life all over the world. I pray for the civilians who have died on American soil at the World Trade Center, Pearl Harbor, the Civil War, the American Revolution, and I pray for the civilians who have died at the destructive will of power across the globe.

Peace Eternal,

Michael Kane

photo- Preston Peet


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