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Durham, NC - As the country prepares to celebrate the Fourth of July, a Duke Divinity School graduate student who served in the Iraq War comments on the meaning of the holiday for some military personnel.
Master of Theological Studies student, Duke Divinity School
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Mehl-Laituri, an Army veteran, has written a book, "Reborn on the Fourth of July," about the human cost of war, and the challenge to Christians committed to military service and the tension between "our love of country with God's love for the world." Mehl-Laituri says he is now a conscientious objector to war.
Quote:"From an ethical perspective, as well as a social one, I think the Fourth of July, with its heavy focus on military personnel, is a key moment to articulate the epidemic-scale rate of soldier and veteran suicides. According to a recent Pentagon report, the rate is one a day for active-duty soldiers. According to the Department of Veterans Affairs, the rate is 18 per day for veterans.
"There certainly is much to celebrate on the fourth, such as freedom, popular sovereignty and the birth of liberal democracy, but part of me mourns the fact that we continue to look past the very people we venerate so much.
"We can't divorce past history from the real moment we inhabit right now; war this century has raged for longer than ever before in our 236-year history. The celebratory atmosphere, for thousands of past and present service members, might be bittersweet."