The low level violence of Remembrance Day
There were recently several items in the news about remembering World War I. In a recent radio interview with Tim Cook, author of “The Necessary War”, The question arose in the discussion how we should be remembering these wars and what exactly should we be passing onto our children regarding “Our Glorious Dead”. The answer seems to be “it depends”. It depends on who you are. For the few remaining veterans it is very important for us to honor the fact that many did indeed suffer and die for what they considered was the good of their country. That certainly remains.
But of the “glory” of war we hear less and less, as we as a culture now begin to hesitate to support this form of violence. And evidence shows that as bloody as the last century was, believe it or not, it was actually the least bloody compared to the centuries that preceded it. The thinking about war has changed as more and more we begin to understand just how much damage can occur to anyone involved in any violent situation: death being the least damaging.
They say when someone is murdered, from the psychic/ spiritual perspective, the one who dies immediately has a new life to go to without pain. The murderer, on the other hand has many years of remorse and suffering before him.
Similarly in a war, it’s the shock and trauma that’s caused to those involved, whether victim or perpetrator, that does lasting emotional, psychological and physical damage. As we’re beginning to understand the effects of Post Taumatic Stress Disorder, the real damage is just beginning to be assessed. Half the soldiers that go to war come home damaged in some way. This fact in itself should be giving us pause.
The conclusion of at least one veteran journalist was to say the only reason we should remember wars is to mourn. I agree.And add that the emphasis now – especially in education should be the focus of a violence-free world: how to avoid conflict, reduce anger, increase peace.