Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Thinking About War...

...and those who fight them. It is Veteran's Day - originally designated Armistice Day, the occasion for remembering the temporary suspension of hostility (until the Treaty of Versailles was signed) that ended The Great War in 1918. The Great War, designated such because no one could imagine one any bigger or more costly. Then there was World War II and Korea - so in 1954, President Eisenhower asked Congress to change the name of the observance to Veteran's Day. And then there was Vietnam and Desert Storm, and then the Global War on Terror. Roughly 41-million Americans have served this country in wartime. Seventeen-and-a half million of them are still living. They deserve a day, don't you think? How many of us made plans to observe this day? Did we load our cars with lunches and kids and head downtown for a parade? Did we plan ahead and adopt a soldier to whom we could send a letter of thanks or a basket of treats? Did we call our local VFW and ask if we could stop by with cookies? Did we find the name of a fallen soldier for whom we could pray or to whose family we could write? Did we even remember members of our own families and circle of friends who have joined the rank and file in wartime and peacetime with a dedication that surpasses our own understanding and our own willingness to serve? I confess I have not given Veteran's Day a moment's thought until now. I have talked about plans for Thanksgiving and Christmas and next summer's vacation...but, I have not thought about this day. I have talked about war and unnecessary death and lonely mothers...but I have not stopped to think about the men and women who put on a uniform bearing my country's flag and board planes to lands they know not of to put themselves in the way of danger. I have not allowed myself to imagine their sleepless nights, their lost appetites, their homesickness, their boredom, or their fear. And so today I will steep myself in their names and faces. I will talk about them with friends and family. I will give thanks for these courageous human beings who agree to protect me from an enemy neither of us really knows or understands. I will put candles in my window for them. And I will pray, as I always pray, that each and every one of our soldiers gets home safely. And soon. Peace.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Can I not be obligated to be grateful? We asked in the 60's "What if they threw a war and nobody came?". Who is actually doing their duty? Those who go or those who refuse to go? When are we grateful for those who have served the cause of peace directly rather than through the doctrine of mutually assured destruction? What if nobody came? What then? Was Jesus a fool who did not understand how the world works? Or might we have even more to celebrate?
- DC

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