Thoughts on Veterans Day
By John Cory
November 11, 2012
Veterans Day—A national Hallmark Card for war inked with survivor’s guilt.
We have numbered wars like SuperBowls (WWI and WWII), marked them by time (the Hundred Years’ War and the Thirty Years’ War), masked them with a gentle oxymoron (the Civil War) and fogged their battles in terms of weather (Rolling Thunder and Desert Storm). War is a lesson in geography like the Spanish-American War, the Mexican-American War and the Vietnam War or, as the Vietnamese call it, the American War. Modern war is waged on an “ism” like Communism or Terrorism.
We never run out of names, terms or reasons for war. And there is always an anniversary for war or a battle or its start, a day of red poppies and marketing to ensure romantic remembrance of death and destruction.
That is war after all – a marriage of violence and glory “until death do us part.”
War is a true never-ending story. And when the shooting stops, we file the body parts and memory fragments on a bookshelf for later reference when we write about war, searching for Kevlar words to protect the troops as we recon the thesaurus of emotions and memories for the building blocks that frame a new rationalization for more war.
And everyone wants a good war story to lead the six o’clock news or top the bestseller charts. It has to be heroic and noble, a tale of sacrifice for the greater good or better yet, a battle of reluctance turned into righteous annihilation of the enemy. It has to be a story about us versus the faceless and godless enemy that leads to triumph and victory, albeit a world-weary victory, thrust upon us. We didn’t want to destroy the village but we had to destroy the village in order to save the village. Like that ominous voice of movie previews, we utter the words: In a world of kill or be killed, there can be no doubt.
Of course we don’t tell real war stories. We write recruiting posters. We have perfected the perverted normalcy of war and made it a family affair
In the recent election cycle only 3 percent of voters listed war as a topic of concern when voting for a candidate.
The thing they never tell you, the lie of all lies, is that you can go to war and then come home.