Thurman P. Woodfork

ONCE MORE AMONG THE MONUMENTS

Photo composite by Thurman P. Woodfork
Created from composite photos
©Copyright by Thurman P. Woodfork
Washington, DC – indeed, the entire country – is full of monuments to one war or another. We excel in erecting impressive marble stones and grand, granite edifices in memory of our perished warriors.

They stand in tribute to the sacrifices of sisters and brothers who were caught up in and killed by the vast, insatiable, unyielding rapaciousness of war. They’re symbolic of the thanks of a grateful nation.

The irony of it all is that so many of the earnest mourners who come to extol the heroic deeds and offer praise for the sacrifices of the fallen and their wounded fellows also seem to have learned little from the past.

Too many equate patriotism with blind faith in the words of our national leaders. We ignore Doctor Johnson’s observation that, “Patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel.”

In spite of the lessons of the past, we seem all too unaware that among those leaders are those who would deliberately guide us into war for reasons that will not stand up in the cold, clear light of objective examination free of all patriotic jingoism.

We are obligated to protect this country from all enemies, both foreign and domestic.

We go on erecting statues and stones to honor those who suffer and perish in our ‘just’ wars, and weep over them as a consequence of our tendency to put emotion ahead of our reason.

We continue to send our kith and kin off into the unrelenting maelstrom of war in the name of God and Country. And we mourn for them among the cold, marble monuments.

Wouldn’t it be marvelous were we able to erect more memorials to peace than to war? What a shame that the world will never allow that dream to come to pass.

Submitted for the July 2005 IWVPA Club Theme Project, “Maelstrom