Veteran’s Day is a complicated holiday for me. I was a conscientious objector during the Vietnam era – I know I did the right thing, but have always been haunted by the knowledge that someone fought in my place. Is his name on that big wall of names? I went and looked for it once.
War is too big a topic for this blog post. I’m thinking today about the individuals who decided to put on a uniform and fight. One of them was Ira Hayes, a Pima Indian who helped raise the flag on Iwo Jima Hill in 1944. Hailed then as a hero, he found when he returned home that life for him and his tribe hadn’t changed very much. Peter LaFarge wrote a song about him that was most famously sung by Johnny Cash, but I first heard it sung by Patrick Sky, and Sky’s version is still my favorite. Here it is – audio only, but still powerful. Happy Veteran’s Day.