The 40s, when my parents experienced WWII, and the 70s my former husband and I experienced during the Vietnam war, are barely discernible. Each of those wars formulated its own set of military principles, shaped by technology and political realities of the day. Even the era of 911 fades with our increasingly interconnected lives through the Internet and 24/7 communication. Yet each of these periods of history and perhaps others, influence our thoughts and feelings about war.
The popularity among American viewers of British and American war biopics, (my sisters’ and my recent search for photos and memories to recreate our parents lives) are part of a national search for the soul of the nation.
We understand, then forget, that wars are endemic to human culture due to the dark side of the human behavioral continuum. There will always be evil-doers among us, and some gain great political and military power to threaten others.
Every war creates its own rationale for waging violence, destroying each others’ land, and commerce, and optimism–lives and physical and mental wholeness. It’s a pernicious part of our human potential.
Every Veteran’s Day must be to stamp out that part of our psyche, and to cultivate the other potentials of the human accoutrement.
Today I honor my father, my former husband, and all the Veterans of War. But, I will not celebrate the greatness of war. I see each one as a failing of our human potential to love, to befriend, to trust, and to act to strengthen every other nation’s desire to provide its people with the resources and freedom they need to develop their full potential as human beings.