War is bad. No to ways about it. People die. That’s why we have Memorial Day in the USA. But we know that it happens. We honor our dead. Most nations know this, and many have ways of remembering. And so we should. It’s the ultimate sacrifice. They died so we could live. It was Winston Churchill who said, after the British had survived the onslaught of the Luftwaffe in 1940:
“The gratitude of every home in our Island, in our Empire, and indeed throughout the world, except in the abodes of the guilty, goes out to the British airmen who, undaunted by odds, unwearied in their constant challenge and mortal danger, are turning the tide of the World War by their prowess and by their devotion. Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few.“
These days our thoughts turn not only to those we have lost, but also to the thousands of US military and others around the world who are lucky enough to survive, but come home with terrible injuries. I remember my father was very proud that he had served his country (Great Britain) well, starting the war at 19 years old as a munitions private during the Africa campaign (he was at El Alamein, as I mention in my blog earlier this year: 2011 – Not the End, Not the Beginning of the End, but the End of the Beginning…. ). He ended up accelerating his military career to become a bomb disposal officer NCO in the RAOC.
Despite his risks (I now understand the risks our troops take now with roadside bombs, or IEDs), he escaped with nothing more than a big dent where a piece of shrapnel had lodged in his leg and some memories of lost comrades during WW2 (only 22 returned from over 50 in his group).
Without waxing lyrical about how important manufacturing is to a nation’s defense, and how a nation really depends on its manufacturing capability, or that of its friends (like Britain depending on the US during the Second World War) let me rest that argument there and make a more important point today…
The point of this blog is to remind us about all the folks lost in conflicts, which is what Memorial Day is all about. But let’s not forget the thousands still with us who bear scars, both visible and hidden in their minds. I know we have Veterans Day later in the year, so let’s honor our dead, but also do doing something positive for those who have survived. Spend some moments thinking about both.
Thanks for you thoughts and your prayers, in whatever form they take.