Monday, November 12, 2007
This weekend, we took the camper to the coast. Parked in an RV place up high, overlooking the ocean, listened to the wind blow and the rain patter against the roof and windows, watched the surf foam and roll in.
Where there was a break, we'd take the dogs out for a walk. Nearby, there was a small cemetery. I dunno how old it was, at least a hundred years, from the graven stones I was able to see. (I stuck to the perimeter road, I didn't think it was appropriate to let the dogs pee on the graves.)
Most of the sites were old, some still relatively fresh. A lot of them were the final resting places of soldiers, sailors, marines. The earliest in this bone yard were killed in the Great War to End All Wars, dated 1918. Didn't end war, that one. Many were from WWII, the early to mid-1940's. Korea, in the early fifties. Vietnam, the sixities. Desert Storm. There was one with a pair of combat boots on it, the raw dirt still sans trimmed grass, only a month old.
I didn't see any from the Spanish American War, or the Civil War, or the Revolutionary War. None of Caesar's Legions, nor the Spartans, none from the protohumans who roamed plains or lived in caves, but it wasn't that old, the cemetery. Only the tip of the iceberg.
War has always been with us. And, no denying it, there is still a need for troops to secure our homelands. So I salute the veterans who have stood on the wall, or the decks of ships, or who flew through the air to protect and defend. Who went forth and did as they were ordered and who gave part, or all of themselves for their fellows.
I just wish there wasn't still such a need for places to bury them, their lives cut short by bombs or bullets.
I wish men would come to realize that there are better ways to live than by wholesale killing of each other. That lesson learned would honor veterans more than anything else I can imagine.