Veteran’s Day

“If you value your freedom thank a vet.” I don’t know who said that or when I first heard it. I grew up with it. This pairing of violence with liberty and freedom. It is in the hymns I sang as a child in school and church, back when those lines were still blurred in Mormon Utah. I grew up on stories of revolution by force starting at Lexington and Concord. Liberating strife………
Ute_indians2_year_1878.jpg Here in the mountains of Zion my ancestors fought with the “remmenant of Jacob” to protect their homes and farms from cattle thieving Utes. My great grand father was honored as a veteran of that strife. The treaty that ended the Black Hawk War is still reenacted sometimes around here. There is a statue in the town of Manti just west of the LDS temple there depicting the Ute chief Walkara beside a pioneer man and woman gesturing toward the temple. It tells the stoy of Walker, as he became known, inviting the Mormons to come and share the area with his people. He had no concept of fences and Euro-American settlement. Very quickly he could see that the influx of wagons full of farmers was going to obliterate his people’s way of life. As the game began to dissapear the Utes began to eat Mormon beef and that is where this liberating strife began. It ended when the Utes were relocated to a reservation in eastern Utah.
So I called my friend Jim who served in Viet Nam in the Marine Corps and thanked him and to wish him a happy Veteran’s Day. I missed out on the war. I was in Canada responding to a call from my church to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ to First Nation people there on Iriquois and Ojibaway reserves.
Now I spend my Fridays volunteering at the local state prison helping descendants of the Utes my ancestor fought pray and sing to their god in the traditional Ute way. Life is often circular like that.


I also thought about the death of Alyssa Peterson, a non commissioned officer in Iraq who killed herself after being ordered to torture detainees. Her case received a lot of attention a year or so ago. I wrote a blog about it then but it was eaten by cyber-gremlins.
The news reported that one in four vets are homeless today. In Utah on any given day there are 530 veterans living on the street. If you value your freedom, thank one of them.

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