As I aged, the glory of war that is impressed on the young gave way to the awareness that most war is fought for ugly reasons and that millions die directly from warfare and indirectly from the wasteful use of resources.
However, such evil does not detract by one iota from the honor due men and women who have fought – willingly or not – and died in service to their countries.
Even when some leader blundered, they rode still “Into the jaws of Death, Into the mouth of hell,” as Alfred, Lord Tennyson wrote in “The Charge of the Light Brigade.”
Today, I honor those heroes while also beseeching current and future politicians to pause more deliberately before they, “Cry ‘Havoc,’ and let slip the dogs of war.” Because there are grave consequences.
In Flanders Fields
by Lt. Col. John McCrae
In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.”