I hate war. I know it is necessary for the preservation of freedoms and withstanding tyranny, but it is an awful thing. All these lives given, mostly to stop some power hungry leader from ruining things. Yet, in all its nastiness, war is a reminder of what matters most. To see men set off, willing (sometimes unwilling) to die for a greater good demands that we ourselves consider what is most precious to us. "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends." (John 15:13) War calls to the finer things in us. Raises us above the pettiness that cannot help but bind us as we live life.
I love Rupert Brooke. The English soldier poet from World War I.
Blow out, you bugles, over the rich Dead!
There's none of these so lonely and poor of old,
But, dying, has made us rarer gifts than gold.
These laid the world away; poured out the red
Sweet wine of youth; gave up the years to be
Of work and joy, and that unhoped serene,
That men call age; and those who would have been,
Their sons, they gave, their immortality.
Blow, bugles, blow! They brought us, for our dearth,
Holiness, lacked so long, and Love, and Pain.
Honour has come back, as a king, to earth,
And paid his subjects with a royal wage;
And Nobleness walks in our ways again;
And we have come into our heritage.
And then, this poem that is so beautiful about soldiers dying in foreign lands
If I should die, think only this of me:
That there's some corner of a foreign field
That is for ever England. There shall be
In that rich earth a richer dust concealed;
A dust whom England bore, shaped, made aware,
Gave, once, her flowers to love, her ways to roam,
A body of England's, breathing English air,
Washed by the rivers, blest by suns of home.
And think, this heart, all evil shed away,
A pulse in the eternal mind, no less
Gives somewhere back the thoughts by England given;
Her sights and sounds; dreams happy as her day;
And laughter, learnt of friends; and gentleness,
In hearts at peace, under an English heaven.
So much is given. Given so my kids can play without fear. So I can do as I please, within the bounds of my reality and to the beat of my own conscience.
We can't always be life changing and meaningful. There is a lot of the day to day in living life. But what am I doing with the freedom that was purchased, at such a cost, for me? I hope it is not just being wasted. I hope the men who died for that freedom would not look on my life and think, in disbelief, "I died so you could do that?"
The final verse of The Star Spangled Banner...
O thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand
Between their loved home and the war's desolation.
Blest with vict'ry and peace, may the Heav'n rescued land
Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation!
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto: "In God is our trust."
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!
So thankful for the freemen who have stood between America and war's desolation. And those today, that are still protecting America.