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Happy Veteran's Day!

By Remy Benoit

When I was a child, a very young child, my very favorite story was one that written close to three quarters of a century before I was born, George MacDonald’s, The Princess and the Goblin.

I can still feel that book in my hand – it was heavy in the way of old books, with a deep maroon cover, heavy beige paper. I have several copies of it now in my china closet – different editions, hard backed, paper backed, but its message
is carried in my heart.

The Princess and her young companion, Curdie, are victorious over the goblins – the forces who dwell in the dark..

It was a child’s way, a child already on her way to becoming an historian, of learning about the Light, about the Dark. It is a popular tale, told in oh so many ways - most recently in Frodo’s courage which Tolkien gave us in such a vivid way; in Lucas’ Star Wars stories.

Late last night when I was very tired, I received an e-mail asking a question – someone wanting to understand where spirituality came into my work. The question truly floored me as to me the answer is so obvious; but then I think as an historian thinks.

We marvel over all the wonders of the ancient world – gasp at the sheer vastness of the Pyramids, of the Great Wall of China – even at the spider webbing of powerful locomotives that once helped to expand, to build our own nation. Yet we need to ask the human price for their construction.

We cringe at the horrors of the fire in the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory where young girls died in such pain – our minds cannot grasp the scope of the Holocaust - or the blood that crimsoned the sea at the Normandy beaches. Yet we need to question the human weaknesses that allowed them.

What has this got to do with the Princess and her Curdie – with Frodo and Sam – that too is pretty obvious to me – it has to do with a vision – with a dream – with what some might call an impossible dream – it has to do with the battle between the forces of Light and the forces of the Dark – it has to do with spirituality – its growth, its emergence, and hopefully, and there are signs of this everywhere – and hopefully with its fruition.

Centuries ago, Britain’s nobles forced The Magna Carta on King John. Were their motives purely altruistic? No – that’s a given – but they made a step forward – they took a step that thousands upon thousands of generations ached for – a step toward the individual rights and spiritual emergence of each and everyone of us.

Centuries passed – wars continued – slavery, serfdom, economic slavery, religious restrictions and prejudices – the Crusades – the Malleus Maleficarum ( The Witches Hammer) – of the still argued Jus Primae Noctis (The Right of the First Night) -The Divine Right of Kings – Mutually Assured Destruction - the list goes on and on and on. But underneath there, underneath all the pain filled dark days of things like hunting a rabbit to feed your family on the manor’s grounds and dying for it – of tilling fields and yielding up the crop to someone else – all the days of the subjugation of the Native Americans, of the British using native populations to serve them their tea; of the French in Indo China – all the days of all of these and more became numbered (even before they actually came into being ) when one day a number of visionary men sat down and put their signatures to a document that would light the way to LIGHT, that would overcome the dark forces of greed, of war, of me and the hell with you who are only here to serve me in whatever way I wish – with the such simple words:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

Yes, we know that they then meant white males – but those words encompass everyone now – it is growth – it is the evolution of history – not only political but the evolution of the Spirit in the slowly coming understanding that each individual is precious, unique, spirit filled, and here meant to provide, through his or her purpose, something for all the rest of us.

We go forward, we fall back, but the overall movement is forward – to the emergence of self-determination – to emergence of the value of freedom at the individual level – to the emergence of the recognition of, the protection of, the individual and collective Spirit.

We have moved forward to where Dr. Wayne D. Dyer can say that you are a spiritual being having a human experience and people are listening.

We have moved forward to the place where Al Gore can sound his wake up call for the protection of the planet if we wish it to survive and people are listening.

And who, disguised as Dick and Jane American, protect the spirit of those precious words – our Veterans whose blood flowed at Normandy; whose blood flowed and froze in Korean snow – whose blood fed into the tunnels at Cu Chi – whose blood was and is absorbed into Middle Eastern sand. We can see the flow of blood – we cannot, because we refuse to, see the soul pieces flying off of those we send to control the forces of the Dark. They, despite the truths of why a particular war was started; despite the competence, or incompetence of its planners, suppliers, implementers, they, those American Dick and Jane’s are there to protect the emergence of the Light in those precious words penned by that incredibly, all too human, very complex, red-headed man from Virginia who changed the words life, liberty, and property to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

What a difference a few words make – words that will lead us, albeit slowly, oh so painfully, oh so expensively into the Light where the spirit of each and everyone across the globe will be allowed to shine. That is not to say that everyone else must do it our way – that would not be good – that would not be healthy – indeed, that is not possible – they must do their way, based in their traditions and cultures – but freedom is a thing given birth to by the speaking of the word – by the sharing of the word – by the example of living the word - by the coming fruition of the word.

And that brings me back to the answer to question – where is the spiritual in what I do – it is everywhere. It is in every life ever lived on this planet that reached out to touch it, that honored it, even if ways we abhor, cannot comprehend – but life always reaching out to the Light, despite the attempts of the Mordor where ever, whenever it tries to call its way up.

Each of us is a Keeper of the Light – if we move toward it – if we embrace it.

On the larger scale our Soldiers, our Veterans are the Keepers of the Light.

Perhaps our lack of concern for them: perhaps our lack of honoring them with the proper supplies, indeed, with proper war plans and blood lusted all too casual votes for war; with lack of proper, respectful, and timely Veteran care shows us just how far we have yet to travel toward the Light. But travel toward it we will.

Soul pieces have been shattered all through history. This is the time, with spiritual beings having a human experience to give serious thought to eliminating the things in the world that cause Post Traumatic Stress – things like empty bellies, like cold dirt floors for sleeping on; like a thousand other things we are heir to, but more than capable of changing.

To our Veterans who so honor those Words of Light – thank you for the courage of showing up to protect them.

We will continue to try to get countries, starting now, and here, to recognize that you need us now – to Keep the unspoken Covenant, be there for us and we will be there for you.

Somehow I feel that if we really learn that; if we really learn to listen to you; to understand the hell you have been through, we just might move another step closer to the Light and make war passe. Perhaps that day will come when we truly accept, not just listen to, the fact that we are not spirit trapped in finite containers, but spirit unimaginably, today at least unimaginably, immense and filled with the power to realize those words in everyone’s life bringing only joy, not pain. Spirit coming through can heal the collective Post Traumatic Stress Disorder of millennia that binds us in fear, rather than frees us in hope; that restricts us in hate, rather than expands us in love; that keeps us from eternally asking if what is being told us is true, or just another move to self-serving avarice and power seeking.

Happy Veteran’s Day – our thanks, our hands, our hearts, and our Spirits walk with you as we all try to move closer to the Light - to the place where we can stop making Veterans.

After all, In the Beginning was the Word. Our co-creative role is continue to find the right, the Spiritual words, and live up to - and beyond them.

Blessings to all,
Miz’ Remy

Man of the Year is playing on cable this week. If you are tired of the same old, same old candidates and debates, you don't want to miss this one!


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This item is part of historian, author, editor, and educator Remy Benoit's ongoing weblog for Veterans, writers, students, and others who believe in learning from and making history; including thousands of articles and posts and the free writing seminar, Using History for Healing and Writing.

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