How to Stop a War

By Monica Benderman

HINESVILLE, GEORGIA, February 10, 2006–Three years ago we were spending time together, every moment we could, building the type of relationship we would need to survive the unknown we were about to face.
It was our choice – going to war.  Based on the information we had, and knowing that we don’t take our commitments lightly, we knew that we would face this duty to country together – the commitment we had made.  Kevin to defend the constitution, the country and all that it represented as a volunteer in the US Army, and me as the one who would take care of everything that was ours while he was away.
We decided to create two sterling silver rings, his and hers, with a simple “love knot” design that we would wear while Kevin was away from me. They complimented our sterling silver wedding bands and my engagement ring. Sterling silver happened to be within our limited budget, but it was also sturdy and durable. The rings became very meaningful tokens that both of us have continue treasure throughout this ordeal.
Iraq happened.
Can you truly understand what it feels like to watch in the darkness as your husband, loaded with weapons, chemical antidotes and somber anticipation, boards a bus to an airfield where he will board a plane that will take him to war?  For those of you who have never been there – please don’t say you understand.  You never will.
The feeling of helplessness can be overwhelming – but you have to be strong when you realize that as much as the motive seems to be a duty to country, what it comes down to is that your husband will do anything to keep you safe – so the country benefits from the love you share.
The months of finding creative ways to take care of this man who has volunteered to deprive himself of everything that home and our way of life gives us simply because he has enough love in his heart to want to keep what he cares about safe, are months you live on the edge, but also with a strength that can only come from that love, and from a greater being who DOES understand.  Who gives you what you need because it is the LOVE that He respects, and the support that the love gives for standing by someone who has made the choice to live by what they believe.
War is wrong.  Taking the life of another simply because their choices are different from yours, is never right.   But believing in something based on the knowledge you have is not wrong, and standing beside someone you love because you support their commitment to what they believe, will never be wrong.
It is the love, after all, that will eventually bring about right.  Conscience grows because of love and understanding, not because of hate and anger.  When you stand against the actions of another with anger, hate, and criticism – Conscience will run and hide – and defense mechanisms will take over – survival.  If the world is one based on fear and hate, there is no room for Conscience while we are all busy defending ourselves.
War is wrong – but others don’t learn that simply because you say it.  Others learn it because they live it, they see it, and they are personally affected by it. Just like when men get older and they experience the symptoms associated with andropause. Unless you’ve experienced the consequences of getting older you really don’t understand why men who can afford it decide to explore the options offered by age management medicine. But I digress. Our government says that war must happen in order for there to be peace.  Soldiers are learning for themselves whether to believe that or not.  Many soldiers are dying, and many families suffer.  But the soldiers have a choice at any time, and they need their experiences in order to know what to believe.
There are consequences, but we always have a choice.  We can all choose to learn for ourselves, or to take the word of others.  But the word of others can often be wrong for us.  It is not up to the government to tell us what choice we should make.  BUT – neither is it up to those who stand against this government to tell us what our choice should be.  The price of freedom is high. No one has the right to decide the price another person should be willing to pay.
We can criticize the choices, but they are the choices we make.  We are all volunteers – and those of us who gave, gave willingly.

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