Today is a sweet, melancholy kind of day. We thank those who serve so we don’t have to and remember the fallen. This year as I look at the landscape and think about our veterns and the cost of war; the spirtual, emotional and phsitical costs, I am reminded of words of robert E Lee who said:
It is good that war is so horrible, or we might grow to like it.
As I think on the constant Forever war in Afghanistan and the “winding down” in Iraq, while at the same time i think abou the kind of life I lead and the almost thoughtless, passing thoughts I and most of my fellow citizens give to the war, I see such a tremendous disconnect between the two. We are not living as a people at war. there is no rationing, there are no real costs to me as a citizen. The cost of the conflict is being paid by a very small circle of those serving in the armed forces. I often reflect on the following words of the great poet Yeats, who was a pilot during world war one. He writes in his poem, An Irish Airman Foresees His Death, the following:
I know that I shall meet my fate
Somewhere among the clouds above;
Those that I fight I do not hate,
Those that I guard I do not love;
…No likely end could bring them loss
Or leave them happier than before.
Nor law, nor duty bade me fight,
Nor public men, nor cheering crowds,
A lonely impulse of delight
Drove to this tumult in the clouds;
I balanced all, brought all to mind,
The years to come seemed waste of breath,
A waste of breath the years behind
In balance with this life, this death.
I can very easily agree with Yeats if I was a vet. I have made a habit as a poltical sciencist to thank any vet I come across. I’ve study war, I’ve study policy. They have been the business arm of that policy. I have fond them guarded at first, but as the conversation goes one they will at some point say something along the lines that no one they don’t know has ever thanked them before. The words of Yeats haunt these conversations.
I encourage you to use one of the following means to prove to our troops that we care:
Pray for them; both safty and that they find peace with God on the plan of battle
Pray for their familes and for peace.
Write them right now at the USO webpage.
Write them a physical letter they can read.
Send them a good Christian book that can lead them to the cross.
Write, email or call your congressmen and let them know you want them working towards a meaningful solution.
I will leave you with only one thought in regard to the fallen:
It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. -Abraham Lincoln