Monday, June 05, 2006

A Retrospective on Memorial Day 2006

Unless you subscribe to brattleboro.com you would have missed this item. On Memorial Day, Korean, Vietnam, and Iraq war veterans went to the Soldiers and Sailors Monument with signs reading "Veterans Remember Our Fallen Soldiers, Soldiers of the Other Side, and Innocent Civilians." Although their presence the day before at the community's Annual Veterans Commemorative Assembly had not elicited adverse reaction, on that Monday one of the "dignitaries" at the Monument's remembrance tried to force the veterans across the street from where the ceremonies were taking place.

Setting aside that one individual who, for reasons unknown, was so incensed, the reception given to the veterans of the last three U.S. wars on the Sunday and Monday of Memorial Day suggests that at least those who have been through the crucible of war understand the universality of the experience and the horrible devastation that war brings to those who participate on all sides and to the innocent civilians who are caught in the middle.

After all, when the shooting starts, the "why" becomes as irrelevant for the soldier as for the noncombatant; survival becomes the paramount and universal goal.

Would it were possible that, after the first hundred rounds each army fired at the other, a truce would be called, during which the ruling men and women who thought that going to war was such a good idea would have to confront each other between the armies and explain -- not to their soldiers but to the other army -- why this war would be so wonderful.

Chances are that the war would not restart.

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