When will we work to give our children peace?
“It is good that war is so horrible, or we might grow to like it.” – Robert E. Lee
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.” – Matthew 5:9
By Art Sherwood
On Memorial Day it is appropriate to memorialize the lives of those who have died in our nation’s wars. While many – if not most – of our wars have been of questionable causes and purposes, there is no disputing the patriotism, devotion and sacrifice of the American soldiers who have died on the battlefield under the Stars and Stripes.
However, because of my experience in working for more than 15 years with war veterans suffering from spinal cord injuries, I am forced to ask: When will we give our children peace? While the commitment to duty of those patients I served is beyond question, we must also ask ourselves: Do we not owe it to our young men and women in uniform to be more judicious in our use of their very lives?
This is not an issue of partisanship. From personal experience, I know that it is about leadership. It is true that the questions of waging war and peace is certainly not an issue to be considered by the North Carolina General Assembly. Rather, and more importantly, it is one to be considered by every American; none of us can ignore the question, for we are all responsible in a republic. Because of my personal experience, I am compelled to challenge us to demand that our leaders first seek peace before rushing to war.
You, too, can do the same. As my friend wrote in this article about his uncle killed in the Korean War, we honor those who gave “the last full measure of devotion” by working for peace.
None of my grandchildren have lived during a time when this nation was not at war. That is sad. And, it suggests we have not learned the lesson stated so clearly by Robert E. Lee during the American Civil War. So, if we truly want to honor those who have served and died in our many wars, this Memorial Day, let’s all commit to striving for a nation that first seeks peace and abhors – rather than tolerates – unending war.
© Art Sherwood, 2018.