Endless war makes armistice celebration ring hollow
WHEN I was a child in school reading about the Hundred Years’ War, the idea was beyond my comprehension even though the teacher explained that it was not a nonstop event. Years later, as an adult, the idea was not only comprehensible but also, I realized, a horrid reality.
On Sunday, Nov. 11, there will be observations of the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I. Although American participation in that war was only one hellacious year, this nation had already surpassed its first hundred years of war and has now completed its second hundred years, providing a steady supply of veterans to be remembered in years to come on Nov. 11.
In Lincoln’s famous address, he referred to “a new nation conceived in Liberty.” He could have said conceived in war, beginning in 1775. By the time Lincoln spoke, there had already been 87 years of wars. When the armistice was signed, the United States completed its 143rd year of war and entered into its second century of war including intermissions to rearm, produce new generations of soldiers, and change sides and venues.
There’ll be no armistice for future generations to commemorate. The current wars — how many are there? — scattered over two continents, some of which are conducted in almost secret locations that rarely make the news, are unwinnable and will possibly or probably bring the downfall of the nation economically if not politically. A permanent state of war is not healthy; surrender is a dirty word.
One day’s price for maintaining these multiple wars could help pay for the ever-growing list of urgent concerns for the lives of the American people: poverty, education, medical care, infrastructure and on and on. The national debt years ago reached the incomprehensible point of impossibility ever to pay and increases every second. We can’t count on the European Union or China to bail us out. The government already owes China staggering billions in repayment of loans.
There’s little use in appealing to Congress and certainly not to the president.
Manufacturers of war materiel maintain expensive lobbyists, reminding your representatives that those industries provide jobs for thousands of people.
This Nov. 11, enjoy the parades, respect the flag and honor the veterans. Pray that national sanity will soon come again to this war-numb nation. RAY A. REEDER Albuquerque