12-15: Tribute to John Heuer, Veteran for Peace

[I consult and consider many sources in search of appropriate subject matter for this blog. Often I find material that is best left (mostly) untouched by me, e.g., today’s piece from the veteransforpeace.org.]

[Wars Cause PTSD. Whether tomorrow, a decade from now, or 30 years down the line, the war experience today will torture a soldier’s mind. It is not necessary to argue, debate, or fight about our reason(s) for going to war; it is the act of war that attacks the psyche. End the wars, end the suffering.]

Veterans for Peace Lose One of their Own

Veterans for Peace lost a former chapter president last month: John Heuer. Although most folks have probably never heard of the organization, they are at once noble and noteworthy. Noble because they have served the nation, even and especially in most dire circumstances. Noteworthy because their goal is to prevent war, thereby eliminating the need for organizations such as their own. The world should take note. In their own words:

Veterans For Peace is an international organization made up of military veterans, military family members, and allies. We accept veteran members from all branches of service. We are dedicated to building a culture of peace, exposing the true costs of war, and healing the wounds of war. Our networks are made up of over 120 chapters across the United States and abroad.

Statement of Purpose

We, having dutifully served our nation, do hereby affirm our greater responsibility to serve the cause of world peace. To this end we will work, with others

  • To increase public awareness of the costs of war
  • To restrain our government from intervening, overtly and covertly, in the internal affairs of other nations
  • To end the arms race and to reduce and eventually eliminate nuclear weapons
  • To seek justice for veterans and victims of war
  • To abolish war as an instrument of national policy.

To achieve these goals, members of Veterans for Peace pledge to use non-violent means and to maintain an organization that is both democratic and open with the understanding that all members are trusted to act in the best interests of the group for the larger purpose of world peace.

Imagine that. All members are trusted to do the right thing. In that they are neither fools nor foolhardy. To my mind the fools among us are those who send our troops to war, never having experienced it themselves. And it is those fools who have kept our country in a foolhardy near perpetual state of war for seven decades with no discernible end in sight. I wonder where they will find the next oil field on which to pour our (not their) blood.

From their website, here is the Veterans for Peace …

Tribute to John Heuer

The Veterans For Peace board of directors and staff offer our deepest sympathies upon hearing of the death of our dear brother John Heuer … after a long illness.

John was past president of Eisenhower Chapter 157 (North Carolina’s Triangle Area) and past secretary of the national board of directors….

John forfeited his student deferment by dropping out of college and signed on as an Ordinary Seaman on a ship bound for Viet Nam. What he saw in Qui Nhon confirmed his worst fears that our country was involved in great crimes against the people of Viet Nam, her neighbors, and our own service personnel. John refused induction into the Army of Richard Nixon in 1970. He applied for conscientious objector status, but was denied. Instead of going to Viet Nam, he emigrated to Nova Scotia, Canada. He came to North Carolina to restore his good citizenship as a VISTA volunteer in 1976 under President Ford’s offer of amnesty.

John spent the rest of his life working to end militarism and war and advance peace and justice in the United States and abroad….

We will honor John’s memory and legacy of service to the cause of peace and justice through our work to build a more just, peaceful and sustainable future for our children and grandchildren….

“For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?”     -Mark 8:36

Having strived for earthly peace his entire adult life, may John Heuer now find eternal happiness. And may the rest of us learn from his example.

*****

The illustration at the blog’s top corner is the Combat Infantryman’s Badge. The blogger is a Vietnam Veteran, 1966-67. He is an author and past state chaplain for a major veterans organization. He welcomes comments on posts and encourages readers to subscribe to PTSDOutreach.com; two points: 1) it is free, 2) posts appear directly in your e-mail in-box.

 

 

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