As we pause to observe another Memorial Day and honor those who have made the ultimate sacrifice in the service of this nation, let us also take the time to consider another way to honor those brave individuals beside planting flags and flowers on their final resting place.
The best possible way to honor these brave souls is to figure out how to put an end to wars.
War remains the epitome of the dark side of the human spirit and it will be as long as wars continue to happen. It’s not pretty; it’s not nice. It requires human beings to fight and try to kill or maim each other. Explain to me the logic of war? What’s the rationale behind trying to, and killing people that you don’t even know? No matter how just each side believes their cause is, people on both sides will die, suffer crippling physical and mental injuries and in all too many cases that last a lifetime. Also, with war comes collateral damage, meaning some not involved in the fight as combatants will die or be mutilated.
By any sane measure of human values is war ever worth the cost? People die and that cost is immeasurable. I can’t understand how civilized human beings persist on killing each other.
War is insane, it takes our best and destroys their bodies and mind. Albert Einstein defined insanity as doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting a different result. Well that’s what war is. We been fighting since Cain picked up that rock and knocked his brother upside his head. One war ends and within a short period of time another begins.
A 1969 R&B song by Edwin Starr “War” voiced a strong anti-war sentiment that became a unifying anthem amongst war protesters through its simplistic but powerful message.
The opening lyrics “War what is it good for? Absolutely nothing!” message continually echoed among the American public during the 1970s, emphasizing its voice of protest against the Vietnam War. During this time, Americans endured a loss of confidence in those who were running the country. Combined with various social crisises, and ongoing action in Vietnam, protest music became a popular response to not only to the Vietnam War but the struggle for equal rights as well.
Starr’s interpretation of “War” conveyed a powerful message that people could easily relate to. While his song generated immense public support, “War” hit the pop charts for 13 weeks. Starr asserted that the song’s message was versatile. It was not about the Vietnam war, he said, it was about war in general. Starr underlines the disadvantages of war in these words from the song; “War, it ain’t nothing but a heartbreaker/War, friend only to the undertaker.” If anyone want to check out this song it’s available on YouTube
Wars starts when middle age men, and on rare occasions women, struggle over power. They are planned by these middle age individuals but fought by our youngest and finest who do most of the suffering and dying. Whether a conflict is necessary is irrelevant. Whether competently planned and commanded or poorly designed and mismanaged is irrelevant. Whether the cause is just or unjust, war is just a deadly venture whose outcome leaves the survivors with devastated and broken lives.
Ray Wilson is a longtime Baytown resident.