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A Memorial Day thought... - Nobody wears a white coat any more... — LiveJournal
...a tribute to becoming a doctor.
A Memorial Day thought...
I'm on my way down to make omelets for the people who were here last night. I'm on my way down to make omelets.
And there is a man in Iraq I can't stop thinking about, and there is a man in Japan who's so very lucky that he's there, and there is a Marine whose father let us know not too long ago that he's still alive and doing well in Baghdad, and my family left Denmark in the early 1900's because of the war. My family have been conscientious objectors and pacifists since I can remember. My uncle did not serve in Viet Nam; he went to Africa for two years to teach the people there instead, and should there be a military draft for women implemented, I will seek alternative service. I have always intended to.
But I do not despise the men and women who choose to serve. I do not hate them for making a choice that I will not - that I cannot - make. I would be a poor soldier, were I to be forced into service. I would be a worse soldier than I was a vacuum cleaner salesperson, for I lack the capacity to value my life over some anonymous stranger's in a helmet. And all the ideals in the world, all the ideals of honour, freedom, country and company - if those ideals were to fill in and support that capacity, I would not be who I am. Those who serve now, at home and abroad, have made that choice and have that capacity, and in this world of grief and pain and injustice I am glad that they can do so. My heart breaks for the horrors they face, and for the obligate death in some tiny way of humanity when war is chosen by any party. And their strength and their dedication has so much capacity to build up, if that were the aim of the government at whose whim they move. I wish that such were the aim.
I will serve, if I am called to service. I will serve, and I will not walk away. I will seek alternative service with all the energy at my disposal, and if that means I go to the very zone of the war to "die building something", I will have good company in those who have done so before. And if I do not find alternative service, I will seek noncombatant status, and if I am denied that, I will make it clear what kind of hazard my beliefs pose to the men and women who work beside me, for I believe that if it were forced upon me I would act for the aggregate; I would do what I had to for the safety of those who fought next to me.
But I do not know if I would survive that doing.

Perhaps I am a coward for this. Perhaps I am every nasty name that conscientious objectors have ever been called. Perhaps it is all true. But I am willing to stand up for those beliefs; I am willing to die for those beliefs. I am willing to go to a war zone to practice healing in the hope that one day I will make a difference. I see my sisters-in-law going to war-torn and broken countries to minister, and I am so proud. And I must act in concordance with my beliefs, and hope that one day it will be a realistic possibility for everyone to make the same choice.
I will work toward that future. As shall we all.

I love you, butterfly. Come home safe.

now feeling:: thoughtful thoughtful

8 whispers echo . o O ( ... ) O o . whisper a word
From: clypheous Date: May 30th, 2004 06:45 pm (UTC) (etched in stone)
That post reminds me of a conversation I had with Prof. Bowman one time after class. We were talking about things worth killing for and worth dying for. I said that I couldn't think of anything worth killing for, but I could think of plenty of things worth dying for.

He thought that was a very different view on life than most people had, but I somehow doubt I'm unique in that view, I expect you have a similar view on the matter.

And relax, you're not going to get drafted into a combat unit. You'll be put in a nice greenzone field hospital. That's assuming they even put women into a draft ever, which I really doubt. I doubt they would even try to put your husband or even me into a combat zone, we'd just be too much of a liability.

lorriejharris From: lorriejharris Date: May 30th, 2004 08:05 pm (UTC) (etched in stone)
Beautifully said. And you summed up my feelings so well! *hugs*
fyrfitrmedic From: fyrfitrmedic Date: May 31st, 2004 02:32 am (UTC) (etched in stone)
Everyone makes choices. While CO status isn't necessarily one I'd make, I have great respect for those who do so.

True fact: many moons ago I was at an exercise in [what was then West] Germany; my mother and sister were protesting US military involvement in Europe at the Pentagon at the same time.
reynardo From: reynardo Date: May 31st, 2004 02:41 am (UTC) (etched in stone)
Were sucha choice available, would you be willing to be conscripted for the same amount of time as military servce as a peace-helping-repair-the-damage-worker, going to devastated areas and assisting with building schools, giving medical aid, re-piping the suburbs, etc.

No, don't answer that - I think I already know your answer. I think there ought to be a choice so that those who don't believe in killing people to win a war could go and do the loving instead.

Seriously, once you're a fully quialifed doc, would you consider something like MSF for a year or so?
ayradyss From: ayradyss Date: May 31st, 2004 05:46 am (UTC) (etched in stone)
Planning on doing 1-2 years of work for WHO or MSF, minimum, as soon as I have a chance to. When depends on family, loans, and scholarship payback.

Brethren Volunteer Service and the CCC are (or have been) alternative service options for those who would be military conscripts. It's out there, just not governmentally supported.
brakiss From: brakiss Date: May 31st, 2004 07:18 am (UTC) (etched in stone)
*smiles and tries not to cry* I'll be home as soon as I can.
turnberryknkn From: turnberryknkn Date: May 31st, 2004 09:03 am (UTC) (etched in stone)
Tough questions. Tough question indeed.

Last June, we helped author a resolution through the AMA House of Delegates launching an in-depth study of what exactly the Health Care Professional Delivery System of the Selective Service --otherwise known as the Doctor's Draft-- actually means and whether it is fair. Was passed by the AMA House in December '03 and we've got a number of FOIA requests out, which will return with a report in Dec. '04.

Given the Selective Service has been pushing to fill draft boards, has already begun "test[ing] HCPDS work flows", and the military is drawing now into the Inactive Ready Reserve --the last pool of reservists before the draft-- to fill manpower needs for Iraq, if I were you, if you haven't already formally and legally declared CO, I'd do it, ASAP.

ayradyss From: ayradyss Date: May 31st, 2004 02:12 pm (UTC) (etched in stone)
I have some CO paperwork dating back about 10 years, actually, but I've been thinking I should finish the declaration. And traditionally my church has had little trouble obtaining CO status, since we're one of the churches that originally lobbied to have alternative service and formal CO recognition, starting in the Civil War.
Advice well taken, though.
8 whispers echo . o O ( ... ) O o . whisper a word