Saturday, July 31, 2004
Korean War Memorial - Washington DC
'Our nation honours her sons and daughters who answered the call defend a country they never knew and a people they never met. 1950 - Korea - 1953.'
Seems to be a familiar theme here. Most the 19 year old kids in Vietnam hadn't ever met a vietnamese person before either - but they risked their lives to "defend", "protect" or "liberate" them. Same in Iraq.
I can't help but be moved by war memorials. Maybe it's something about lies being etched into stone. They stand the test of history. Long after people have forgotten, the words remain carved into the granite. History written by the victors. Not written by the soldiers, but by politicians and statemen who also carve their own names into the blocks of history.
Maybe it's something about the futility of it all. Something about the innocence of the mostly young men who died serving interests other than their own. The lists of names seem to go on forever...thousands of poeple senselessly slaughtered while senselessly slaughtering others.
Where are the memorials to the conscientious objectors? Where do we remember the people who said NO to war? Who refused to take up arms against people they didn't know? Who refused to kill or be killed in the service of power and wealth?
Maybe it's time for a new kind of memorial? A peace memorial? To remember the times when we weren't at war. To celebrate leaders who solved conflicts peacefully. To celebrate people who stood up for peace in the face of a culture of war.