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Memorial Day Reflection – Paul Ruez, M.Ed. Combat Vet / Teacher

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Paul Ruez, M.Ed., -I begin my Memorial Day comments with a focus on triage because current or past PTSD suffering deserves compassionate and effective attention.

VA’s Vet Centers. Hot Line Call: 1-877-927-8387

Dial 988 Suicide & Crisis 24/7 Lifeline

Words often fail in the face of bloody conflict management. To quote Dr. Marshall Rosenberg, (www.CNVC.org), a powerful gift we can give to those suffering the trauma of loss is “your presence.” Listen to your loved ones – be there for them. Hold your advice and seek help to be supportive.

Memorial Day is personal. Thank you for digging into some tender memories which may be upfront in your mental landscape or buried deep.

Considering experiences along your PTSD journey, I compliment you for choosing healthy behavior. For those still fighting their experiences, in whatever form, please call the above numbers now.

Today let’s Honor:
Sacrifice – Teamwork – Selflessness – Tenacity – Love – Etc.

these are ‘choices’ made by the men and women and their loved ones who served and serve. Focus on this, not the horrors of bloody Conflict.

To me, Memorial Day is a day to honor the warriors and these choices they courageously made. We too, can choose similar courageous steps on our behavior compass to deploy throughout the year in facing conflicts – personal, career, national and global.

To honor their sacrifices, I believe it is necessary to listen to 5 Star General and former President Eisenhower in understanding the context in which conflicts take place.

Similar to campaign financing… if wars did not make a financial profit, how would they look? The “Military Industrial Complex,” Eisenhower warned us about in 1961 is a profit-based system. If war was not profitable, our conflict management would look different.

First, it would be based on Conflict Resolution and not just management. Depending on the administration in power, the degree of relentless profit- making changes, thrives across political divides and is fueled by those who need to make more money.

Let’s remember Honoring the Warriors and their courageous choices is very different from honoring a profit-making Military Industrial Complex. In today’s 2023 upgrade to this statement, we need to include
the civilian arms business too because the bloody battle fields include classrooms, residential streets and beyond.

And yes, this is stated with the tragic realization that on planet Earth today we lack the education to resolve our differences without hurting others and therefore the need for SWAT teams to deal with armed trigger-happy bullies exists.

This is the bottom line today, so I’ll repeat it: We lack the education to resolve our differences without hurting each other. It is way past time that this educational deficit changes.

So as a combat veteran and a former high school teacher, my Memorial Day Plea, my Memorial Day Prayer is to join in honoring the Warriors, living and diseased and their families and loved ones and caretakers. And now, let us cut through political, religious, economic and other barriers to replace lip service with tangible strategic and tactical actions. Why? To build bridges and not walls between each other so we can resolve our differences without hurting others.

Basic Conflict Resolution 101 – Present the facts as we know them in the sunshine of full disclosure while listening with civility and respect to reach common understanding. This is an essential fundamental skill set. This is a fundamental Life & Career Skill, NOT a soft skill as most educators call it. This desperately needs to be learned, taught and practiced at all levels – including politicians.

Honoring those who have paid the Ultimate Sacrifice, let us join together in putting aside the partisan bickering, blame-gaming and untruths and join hands as the United States of America while we choose to resolve (not just manage) our personal and common challenges.

In the light of moral and spiritual mandates from higher authorities, can we agree to hit the pause button on the incivility, hate and killing that infests our communities both national and global and consider, less
harmful ways and means of settling our differences?

Let us Honor our Warriors today and choose attitudes like they so bravely chose, and here on the home front… embrace our challenges with Sacrifice, Teamwork, Selflessness, Tenacity, and the Love that
empowered those we Honor Today.

These words apply to all who wear the uniform of the First Responder. Beyond the obvious, this group also includes teachers, administrators, moms and dads, clergy and all who perform stewardship responsibilities.

Courtesy of 12 News Phoenix – Special Tribute to Combat Camera

Memorial Day 2023 – By Paul Ruez, M.Ed., Former Army Combat Photographer, Retired Educator

Ruez served with 221st Sig Co. Vietnam 1970 – Former State of Wisconsin Veteran’s Counselor
Oceanside High School, Ca. Teacher – Retired www.linkedin.com/in/careertechedu


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