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Remember them

This is a repost from last year. Sadly, not much has changed.

This Memorial Day, I wonder if we humans will ever not be at war – killing each other? I honestly cannot imagine that that will ever happen, but I am hopeful that we can do better.

When I was young, The Kingston Trio recorded Pete Seeger’s anti-war anthem “Where Have All the Flowers Gone.” I learned to play it on my guitar and earnestly sang it in my room (to quote and to evoke the teenage angst of the Beach Boys) along with other anti-war songs of the early 60s by Buffy Sainte-Marie, Phil Ochs, Joan Baez and others. To this day it brings me to tears with its poignant question, “When will they ever learn?” I do wonder if we will.

Interesting to learn from Wikipedia that Seeger’s inspiration for the lyrics, which he wrote in 1955, came from a Cossack folk song "Koloda-Duda," Interesting because Cossacks dwelled in the areas of the “northern hinterlands of the Black and Caspian seas. They had a tradition of independence and finally received privileges from the Russian government in return for military services.” That is, Russians and Ukrainians – people currently at war with each other. Killing each other.

Listen, I get it on some level. If someone was trying to kill my family, I would (in fact, I hope I would) try to kill them back. If Stamford invaded Norwalk and moved into my house and kicked me out on the street, you can be damned sure I would try to find a way to fight back – for what is mine. Hmmm. I'm pretty sure everyone in Norwalk would. That’s a crux. But, still. I would.

This is why I don’t believe that war will ever end. When you put it in personal terms, it checks all the boxes. But I know we can do better. There is room to do better.

Right now, the Geneva Academy, tracks 110 armed conflicts in today’s world, some of which have lasted more than 50 years. Imagine that. Really! Imagine it. Imagine how many people are being killed every day in the Middle East, Asia, Africa, Europe and Latin America, and some for the past 50 years! That's nearly two generations -- you and your parents. Or you and your kids. Two lifetimes of war. Conflict, animosity, tension. And that doesn’t even account for Americans killing Americans in the U.S. Or the Middle Passage. Or the Trail of Tears. Or the Long March. Or thousands of other death marches we have perpetuated on each other. It's no surprise that we want justice, revenge, peace … to be left alone.

When will it ever end?

I honestly do not know. In our country, I do know of one organization that can help – Maybe you can start there. We have to start somewhere. We are all human, and I think we’d all react the same way if we feel threatened. We need to learn to better assess the threats. We need to learn to live together. We need to respect each other better.

We need to do that one at a time. We can. We can be better. We must be better. We must do better.

Peace and love to all those who died in wartime. You were loved. You are missed.


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