Monday, March 16, 2009

My Spring Break at "Our Spring Break"

By: Harry Waisbren

Well I have once again descended upon Washington, DC (the second time in a matter of weeks after Power Shift) for Our Spring Break---the anti-war alternative Spring break I have helped coordinate as a member of Campus Progress' Iraq committee---and while traveling I have been mentally going over why I am so motivated for such a trip. By definition, Our Spring Break is not the a stereotypical Spring Break for a college student, but I am left without a shadow of a doubt that this is exactly what I would like to be doing this break.

You could not possibly tempt me right now with a sunny beach or a sight seeing adventure or even down time on a comfy couch. Yet I do not consider myself to remotely be an aberration of a college student, rather, I believe that I am entirely a typical college student who has been lucky enough to have had the life experiences to make me both appreciate and recognize the world around me.

One of these primary experiences of mine has been my ability to learn about and work with Iraq war veterans who are now against the war. When you speak to these true patriots, you feel a sinking feeling inside amidst the recogntion that all of our tax dollars and tacit complicity contributed to their ongoing troubles. It is our country's collective complicity that has led to more of our soldiers dying from SUICIDE than in combat, it is our shame that 1/5 of our veterans suffer from PTSD or major depression, and it will be our burden to take care of the new generation of homeless veterans that are already in desperate need of our help.

When you learn of such things or witness the expression of them first hand as I did during Madison Winter Soldier you can't help but be changed. All of a sudden you recognize the litany of things that we take for granted in this life, and you feel a profound empathy for those whose very patriotism has brought them to such dire straights. Following such a profound realization, the "typical" college Spring Break activities seem like extravagencies, as far too many of our country's bravest men and women are left only dreaming for a typical sort of life.

Then again, I don't mean to knock sucking the marrow out of life and living it to the fullest. It would denigrate that which our soldiers fight for to give up on our personal happiness. But for me, there is no where else I would rather be right now, as it is precisely my knowledge that I am doing my part to ensure that this NEVER happens again that will make the good parts of life that much sweeter!

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