These “warriors” who have committed to defend us must know they have good things to return to – not cars, houses, money in the bank.  They must have someone they can believe in who loves them for who they are, who will take them back and help them heal, a country that shows respect for their sacrifice by making the changes necessary to keep them from ever having to go to war again, and a country that will give them the freedom to make their personal choices when they say they have had enough of killing – without facing retribution from selfish people who aren’t willing to stand to defend themselves.
We must understand the depth of their belief and the reasons for their commitment.  We must realize that they do not see from the same perspective as us.  For some, it is something as simple as knowledge.  We must not be so bold as to believe that we are the ones who should be doing the educating.  We must be humble enough to realize that perhaps it is us who need greater knowledge.   Mostly we must remember that it is no one’s right to demand that another choose as you have chosen, whether you are for or against war.
Change does not come by forcing it at the end of an M-16. Change does not come by loud protests, by abusing public property and by daring law officers to arrest us to make a statement against the establishment.
Change comes with patience, understanding and education.  Change comes by example – by using wisdom to lead others to realize the best choice for them.  Change comes by allowing others to live through the experiences they must, as difficult as it is to watch, so that they can come to their choices from within themselves.  This is the only way they will truly believe.
To bring about the change we all are seeking, we must realize that the change must be a choice we all are allowed to make, as individuals and in our own time.  We must learn to live our own lives, not to presume to know what is best for others.  We must educate ourselves, and we must love others enough to give them the same opportunity for themselves.
Patience and acceptance of others is what will stop war.  Education will stop war.  Understanding will stop war.  Humility will stop war. Realizing our place, accepting our responsibilities and remembering our humanity will stop war.
Love will stop war.  You are all free to choose.
Monica is the wife of Sgt. Kevin Benderman, currently serving a 15 month sentence at the Ft. Lewis, WA stockade, for filing a CO application and not returning for a second combat tour in Iraq.