I give thanks for the men and women who fought for my freedom and who continue to fight and protect this country. I’m a woman. I’m a Christian. I’m a writer who frequently publishes her thoughts on all sorts of topics and, generally speaking, I live free from the fear that I will face terrible trials, jail time, persecution or death for any of those reasons.
I have soldiers to thank for that. I swear I will not forget them or what they have done for me.
I see the Memorial Day parade in our town and watch as they throw a wreath into the water and salute the fallen sailors. I listen as they play Taps at the cemetery and I weep with the senselessness of it all.
My father is a veteran. He fought in Vietnam, not because he felt it was a worthy cause but because the leaders of this “free” nation forced him to. Still, he fought to the best of his ability. He came home after years abroad, sick and wounded. His body healed, more or less, but his heart still hurts. He still cries when he talks about it. He still jumps at loud noises. He is still angry at the politicians who played with his life and the lives of those he loved for reasons they didn’t understand then or now.
I look at the conflicts we are involved in now and I can’t help but compare them to the crusades of nearly 1,000 years ago. Two opposing forces, both convinced they are right, convinced they hold the moral high ground, convinced God is on their side… killing and wounding and destroying…
We fight over land, power, ideals, money and resources. We just keep fighting.
One side wins. They set up a “new system.” It isn’t long before someone is oppressed in some way. Someone is offended. Someone is attacking. Something goes wrong and we find ourselves fighting again.
More blood is spilled. More hearts are broken. More children are orphaned. And still we keep fighting.
George Orwell had it right. “The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again, but already it was impossible to say which was which.”
And still we keep fighting.
I have heard it said that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over again, expecting a different result. If that is the case, then it seems obvious our species went insane a very, very, very long time ago.
But what do you do when you see injustice? When genocide is occurring? When people are being persecuted?
Do we lay down our weapons, let the tyrants rule and simply trust that God or Karma will work it all out? Or does the God who taught us to turn the other cheek and go the second mile, when forced to walk one by an oppressive regime, sometimes call us to arms?
What’s the answer?
I don’t know.
So I struggle with Memorial Day. I weep for the lives that have been lost and because I know that we, as a species have not yet grown up enough to solve our problems peacefully. We are still children, fighting for reasons big and small on the playground of planet earth. I shudder to imagine how many more lives will be destroyed by war.
On Memorial Day I give thanks for those who fought so that I can be free to wonder and I pray that the fighting will, someday, come to an end.
Are you, too, seeking to save the earth, promote world peace and raise productive citizens without expending too much effort?
If we work on our goals together, they may be a little easier to achieve!