In Remembrance: Men, Women and Children of War…
“Peace to each manly soul that sleepeth; Rest to each faithful eye that weepeth.” ~ Thomas Moore
“When we say “War is over if you want it,” we mean that if everyone demanded peace instead of another TV set, we’d have peace.” ~ John Lennon
War & Lyrics ~ By Bob Marley
10 Commandments of Mother Earth By Ernest Callenbach via Humanity Healing.org***
III. Thou shall not hold thyself above other living things nor drive them to extinction.
V. Thou shall educate thy offspring for multitudes of people are a blessing unto the earth when we live in harmony.
VI. Thou shall not kill, nor waste Earth’s riches upon weapons of war.
War and Peace walk in tandem; like two birds forced to feed off the table of good and evil wrought by man. When one sleeps, the other rises and the struggle to find world peace and balance continues.
Memorial Day is celebrated annually on the last Monday of May and dedicated to the memory of fallen American men and women who died in all wars and armed conflicts. Initially created to honor northern soldiers who died in the Civil War, it became a way to remember those who died in World War I, II and then all wars. In 1971, Memorial Day was declared a national holiday in the USA.
On Saturday, President Obama honored Memorial Day by speaking about Americans who died in service to this nation. In his speech, he honored “not just those who’ve worn this country’s uniform, but the men and women who’ve died in its service; who’ve laid down their lives in defense of their fellow citizens.” It was touching yet many families would like to see their loved ones home; our soldiers must come home.
Every year, we pause in remembrance of those who paid the ultimate sacrifice – to give their lives so others might live. Each casualty of war or MIA leaves behind loved ones, family members, and memories of what could have been… Oh war, such dreadful deeds you cast across the ocean of life; such dreadful deeds.
“Peace is more important than all justice; and peace was not made for the sake of justice, but justice for the sake of peace.” -Martin Luther
“The purpose of all war is ultimately peace.” -Saint Augustine
Ikenga ~ Songs at Sunset***
As a survivor of the terrible 3 year Biafran war, I loathe war. While we will be remiss if we did not honor the courageous acts of our loved ones who fought and lost at war, we must not dismiss but also honor the spirits of those innocent bystanders; mothers, children, sons and lovers, whose lives were sacrificed in the ensuing violence. Each life lost becomes a testament to the list of unresolved issues that led each nation to war.
The aftermath of war includes depression, a renewed sense of loss, disorientation, dislocation, permanent debilitating wounds, nightmares, and for many, indelible scars that lie under the surface of the skin waiting to break through like a pus-filled sore on a hot summer day. War is never pretty; even for all the glorified versions we get from Hollywood directors. War is ugly and maims the living as much as it does the dead.
I want this Memorial Day to be one of deep reflection for all of us; whether we buy into the notion/theory that war is not the answer or that a warring nation is a safe nation. Whichever school you subscribe to is irrelevant to me. It will not erase my childhood memories; the sound of whistling bombs flying by aimed at their target. It will not bring back the dead; the smell of burning flesh; massive destruction everywhere.
I am not here to judge but to heal… I want to remember the innocent children caught in the cross fires, permanently seared by bomber fuel and left for dead in collapsed buildings. I want to remember the mothers bereft of their husbands, fathers, sons, left to watch their children slowly starve to death as birds of prey linger nearby waiting to devour their remains.
I want to remember the innocence of young men and women who left for war whole and returned ravaged by the horror they saw; the horror they experienced and the horror inflicted on the enemy. I want to remember families left behind, holding pictures of loved ones, nursing broken hearts; the living dead. I want to remember every painful, poignant detail so I will never forget that the spoils of war are hollow; for the victor and the vanquished have both lost their heads.
“Our cheer goes back to them, the valiant dead! Laurels and roses on their graves to-day,
Lilies and laurels over them we lay, And violets o’er each unforgotten head.” ~ Richard Hovey
In the midst of war, there are always pockets of hope. This hope keeps survivors fighting to stay alive. Hope comes in many forms; through God’s miraculous moments, the kindness of people and opportunities to heal. Hope comes in the form of Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors, TAPS, which was created in 1994 by Bonnie Carroll after the tragic death of her husband, Brig. Gen Tom Carroll, in a plane crash.
TAPS offers a variety of resources to the loved ones/family of military staff. They provide comprehensive care including services and programs such as peer based emotional support, case work assistance, crisis intervention, and grief and trauma resources. To date,they have helped over 25,000 people and give help, hope and healing to families who have lost a loved one/family member. Their toll-free hot line is: 1-800-509-TAPS (8277).
For those battling depression, post traumatic stress disorders and/or feeling suicidal, both Hopeline and AFSP,American Foundation for Suicide Prevention provide great resources and immediate help to veterans and their families. HopeLine was started in 1998 by Reese Butler after the death of his wife, Kristin, by suicide. His goal has remained “to offer HOPE and the option to LIVE to those in the deepest emotional pain.”
AFSP, The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, has been involved in several suicide prevention initiatives and provides groundbreaking research, educational campaigns, innovative demonstration projects and important policy work. It advocates for policies and legislation at all levels of government to bring awareness and change to the subject of suicide prevention.
AFSP works in tandem with The Suicide Prevention Resource Center (SPRC) which provides prevention support, training, and resources to help organizations and individuals develop their own suicide prevention programs. The goal is to develop and evaluate centers and programs to advance the National Strategy for Suicide Prevention (NSSP).
“Soldier, rest! Thy warfare o’er, Sleep the sleep that knows not breaking,
Dream of battled fields no more. Days of danger, nights of waking.” -Sir Walter Scott
“The purpose of all war is ultimately peace.” -Saint Augustine
Soul Service via Humanity Healing.org***
A terrific group offering hope is Humanity Healing International, a non-profit which creates projects for change, healing and the pursuit of peace by encouraging active participation to grow local communities and restore personal dignity to people globally.
Another ray of light and hope is Neil Pasricha’s positive blog – 1000 Awesome Things which he started in June 2008 and continued to share with others even as his world was crumbling; his wife left him and his best friend committed suicide. Neil stayed committed to his blog goals and continues to find one awesome thing to write about each day. He has won two best blog awards and his new book “The Book of Awesome” just hit the newsstands.
In times of war and despair, reflect on things that matter in life and find time to celebrate. Let’s remember awesome things that have happened in our lives and share them with others around the world, find positive ways to resolve conflicts, and remember that war is not the answer to securing peace on our planet.
For more on this subject, I have posted a follow-up on my Blogger blog site and included music from one of my all time favorites — Bob Marley and his music video “War.” I wish you peace, joy and abundant blessing on this Memorial Day and May the Shadow of War never cross your doorstep.
Are you a war survivor or do you have a loved one in the services? What are you views on this subject? Do share how you cope in their absence. What memories do you cherish? As always, your feedback is appreciated.
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Burial in Arlington National Cemetery by J.D. Leipold ~ via Wikipedia
Nuclear War-co2 Test ~ via TreeHugger
Biafra War: Child with Kwashiokor ~ via Don McCullin – Biafra (1969)
When Hunger Strikes: Remnants of factional wars ~ via Mike Wells
Afghan Refugee ~ via Steve McCurry
Holding peace ~ via Nancy Howe
Other Photographs ~ via Google Images
Until Next Time…
Ask. Believe. Receive. ©