Tuesday, November 11, 2008

In Flanders Fields

Veteran's Day is nearly over, and many events marked its passing this year. It is personally gratifying that people are thankful for those who served and are serving, even in unpopular wars. "Unpopular wars" is a funny term--did you know there were antiwar activists even after Pearl Harbor? Many didn't think it should have caused us to go to war with Germany and Italy. There will always be those who think there is a peaceful solution to any conflict, but I say history is proof positive we can't always turn the other cheek. The American Fighting Man and Woman elects to serve the country, it is up to our civilian leadership to correctly use the precious resource of our youth.
Movies and TV news have proven powerful at bringing the horror of war into the living room, but then, you can turn it off and reflect on what it all means in peace and quiet. The soldier in the foxhole can only pray for it to be over, it doesn't turn off when he's had enough. You can't rewind and do it over when you charge up a hill in flying-metal hell.
In my 30 years of service, I was never really in immediate danger of death, never in a running battle or fire-fight. I don't really know how I'd do in those circumstances. Yet, something in me boils over and connects me with all who served when I read a simple poem, written after an unimaginable carnage by someone who somehow survived.
I invite you to read it at this URL:


This never fails to wrench my heart and bring on the tears, even though I've only seen the fields in pictures. I wonder if it can have the same effect on someone who has never served?
If we lost these things, who would we be?

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