Padre Bruce Stocks


Long Tan Cross
The orginal Long Tan Cross: Canberra ACT
Photo by Joseph C. Mercieca: September 2012
In the ancient traditions, one of the ways that warriors adjusted to ordinary civilian life was to become a healer. Mainstream society did not need warriors – it needed healers. And so the quest was from warrior to healer.

But to become a healer the warrior had to realize that he was wounded, not only of body, but also of soul. And so the process of becoming a wounded healer often took much time.

One could not be a healer unless one had known the discipline, dilemmas and risks of being a warrior, and then away from the battlefield, coming to the realization of one’s own woundedness.

Out of the woundedness, out of the warrior experience, slowly came a softening of heart and a deepening of compassion, so that he, who was once warrior, now became a deep and wise healer.

It has taken a long time for warriors of the Vietnam conflict to discover their own woundedness and their own healing. It has taken a long time to discover that you are now healers.

But here you are now, in the season of your greatest healing. No longer is it your time for war, it is now ripe for your time of healing.

Many young men and women are returning from foreign shores having been warriors: from Somalia, Timor, Solomon Islands, Afghanistan, Iraq and other zones. Do we ignore their warrior experience because, like you in Vietnam, some do not regard these experiences as real war?

Wounded healers, just as together you survived as warriors in Vietnam, so I call on you today to stand alongside of one another as you seek healing for your mates, your families, and for these young warriors returning from their tour of duty. May they be assisted by you to find their place in due course, as warriors turned wounded healers.

Address at the RAR Association Long Tan Commemoration Service held August 18, 2007 at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, Torrens Parade Ground, Adelaide.