Monday, November 11, 2013

Thoughts on Veteran's Day and Refugees

It's veterans day. I've spent the last couple days in part dealing with the latest problem of a war survivor, not a veteran but a refugee. He was only 16 when he got word at his African boarding school that this entire family had been killed in ethnic strife and, therefore, it was his job to leave school, come home, and bury them. Which he did, save for one female family member who was not killed and never accounted for and whose disappearance at the hands of an angry, hate-filled mob has never been documented or explained. Then came four years of wandering while the guy tried to figure out where to go next and where he could find a job and be safe. Someone suggested the USA, our state department approved, and he's here now, with only a small part of the services he should have. (Yup, you know you're in deep shit when you've got a life changing problem and you're first thought is "let's call Pete Huston, semi-employed jack-of-all-trades whever he is.") Quite frankly some of these problems of his are self inflicted, but there's a lot of brains, talents, and experiences there athat are worth salvaging and that can be shaped into something that will make the world and society a better place, if the scattered damaged pieces can be brought together. They guy needs better services than he's getting. War does that to teenagers and other living things. Anyway, hello boys and girls, it's veterans day. Please remember violence and exposure to violence changes people. Violence changes societies. My own exposure to violence, more than most Americans, yet less than a hell of a lot of people, has changed me. If we, as a society or nation, are going to ask our people, young and middle aged both, to go out and kill and fight and wander, work, and explore war zones. we've got a duty and a moral obligation to put the things they need in place in order to integrate them back into our society after they go through these things. Please use this veteran's day to give some thought as to what it is that we ask our veterans to do or be prepared to do for our nation and what it really is that they will need when these things we ask them to do are done and we wish them to come home and live among us in peace again.