Music is a powerful and emotionally stirring medium as certain songs and music evoke a myriad of emotions generally based on past life experiences. For me the song “Over the Rainbow” performed by Israel Kamakawiwo’ole allows oneself to surrender the mind to a calming sense of total serenity created by happy lyrics combined with peaceful and joyful sounds of the ukulele. The same can be said of Ray Charles' rendition of “What a Wonderful World.”
There are songs that make you want to kick off your shoes and dance, songs that bring back fond memories of cherished youthful escapades, and loved ones both living and gone. Some songs are personal as the song's meaning and interpretation may vary to different individuals. That brings me to the purpose of this writing.
The saddest song I have ever heard is one written and performed by Tim Buckley titled Once I Was. I perceive it to be a story of two young lovers torn apart by the Vietnam War, a Dear John letter received by the soldier as his love became unfaithful and the young soldiers last thought before dying, alone, in the torrid jungle “Will you ever remember me?”
The lyrics, haunting in themselves, are exacerbated by the melodic percussion of the drum bringing about a profound sense of loss and abandonment as the lonely dying soldier’s mind cries out: “Please remember me.”
I have come to realize, through my work with veterans in the Vittles for Vets program these last six years, the plea for recognition and remembrance is not reserved for the dying and dead, but also for those who return home from war, a noticeably changed person, as he/she bears the scars of witnessing the open gates of Hell that is war, first hand.
Too many damaged bodies and/or damaged minds, resulting from their service to the country, prohibit the veteran from engaging or interacting with others, sentencing the veteran to a life of depression, desolation, and loneliness.
Vittles for Vets addresses the need for nutritious food with an unintended benefit of providing some comfort to the veteran in the knowledge that there are many who truly care for their well-being and they are not alone, leading to a healthy mind and a sense of belonging.
If you know of a veteran, or anyone, who suffers from loneliness and isolation may I suggest a “buddy check” on their needs, perhaps an occasional phone call, or pen-pal letter.
I find it sad that the memory of those who so valiantly served our nation is as fragile as the flame of a single candle………. so easily extinguished. To me, and every brother who lost comrades in war, the memory of our “too soon departed’ will live within us until the time comes for us to meet our Maker. I hope you will consider a “buddy check,” in some form, as the benefits of human contact are boundless.
Be well, God Bless, and remember our veterans.
President and Founder
Vittles for Vets