[Speaking of poetry, don't forget to enter your Haiku poem about adoption in our contest to commemorate Adoption Awareness Month. Prizes, prizes, prizes!]
One of the student winners in this year's Veterans for Peace poetry contest was a seventh-grader whose poem read, in part, "I am a Chinese girl/Adoption is good/ Now I am an American/My grandfather fought in WWII and Korea/He killed people who looked like me/He welcomed me into the family." We talked, she and I, about how words can heal and be redemptive, how different generations can come together in relationships of forgiveness and hope. I told her, "I'm sorry."
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The young poet's poem jarred this "jar head." I had considered Korean and Chinese soldiers as nameless "gooks." Hadn't I grown up in a community with a Chinese immigrant history? Had Chinese college classmates? Had a personal friend, my company executive officer, who was Chinese-American, a Navy Cross recipient, who had fought against "kin"? How mixed up is that?
4 weeks ago