Just a Thought: War is hell - history repeats itself

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War is hell. Nevertheless, it has been around since man was created...and, sadly, it is not going to go away anytime soon. John Steinbeck said “All war is a symptom of man’s failure as a thinking animal.”

We desire to live in a land of freedom with equal opportunities for everyone in a stable society. It is the American way. We each were born into this world for a time such as this. Many have gone before us, many are living today, and many will follow after we are gone. 

Being able to celebrate our country’s Declaration of Independence today is a result of others who have gone before you and have been willing to give their lives for our great country of America. There are many today who remain willing to die so you can continue to have the freedoms you hold today. 

At this time in our existence we desire stability in our country and the world around us, but obtaining and keeping this is often times beyond our control.

Learn the history of any country and you will learn about its wars.

My wife Tanya and I have had the opportunity in recent years to visit a dozen European countries. It doesn’t really matter what country we visit, when we learn its history, every country has a history of many wars on their soil and the lands that surround them.

For example, France’s history includes Napoleon and Hitler. Greece talks about warring between Greek factions within its current borders, Alexander the Great, and the Romans. Sweden talks about the 30 year war between the Catholics and the Lutherans and its wars with Denmark. Italy talks about the Roman Empire and Hitler. 

The Scandinavian countries’ history includes the centuries when the Vikings controlled their lands over 1,000 years ago. Germany, well, its recent history has become a part of every country’s history. Norway even has a Resistance Museum in Oslo that tells the story of its occupation by the Nazis during World War II.

Let’s move it to our history. Our country’s wars could fill a page and would include the French and Indian War, the Revolution against Great Britain, the War of 1812, the Civil War, World War I and II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the ongoing war on terrorism and many more can be added to this list.

All this being said, mankind has a long history of killing mankind. 

In a museum in Copenhagen, Denmark the tour guide showed us a case of weapons and told us how the more at war a country was, the more it worked hard to develop better weapons. He commented that warring countries advanced weaponry because they were needed to gain power. He commented that China and India did not advance much in the field of weaponry because they had long periods of time with peace. 

So where am I going with this column? Whether it is the over half million deaths of Americans when we killed each other in our misnamed “Civil War” or the Nazi’s killing six million Jews in World War II. War is hell.

I ponder the vast number of lives that have been lost as mankind fights mankind. Whether it is country against country or killing in the name of religious beliefs, a death is quite simply a death. Well trained warriors have died and innocent people have died. Deaths at war have rocked countless families over the history of mankind.

How many mothers have lost their young sons and daughters over the history of mankind because the king or the rulers of the country sent them off to fight? As is included in many stories about our Civil War, one mother loses her son to another mother’s son only for the other mother’s son lose his life to a third mother’s son. You get the idea. 

There is a powerful scene in the movie “13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi” where mothers of young Libyan men are on the battlefield after a battle ended and are walking from dead body to dead body as they lay face down. They lifted up one head after another to see if their son is one of the dead...very moving.

At the end of the day there have been too many men and women with a long life ahead of them and the world at their fingertips who never got the chance to experience life to its fullest. 

In the Bible in the book of Genesis, Cain kills Abel. Mankind has been killing mankind ever since. Nothing I can write in 2020 will change a single one of the lives lost. It is just sad to think of what happens to mankind when we don’t get along.

My challenge to you today is to appreciate those who have given their lives either with death or through years of service to allow us to live in our great country today. This includes many of you reading this and your own family members. 

Celebrate the freedoms you have today as you celebrate the 4th of July. These have been costly freedoms to obtain and costly to maintain. As has happened with the rise and fall of the Greeks, the Romans, the British, and the Nazis, there will be a day in the future when the freedoms we have fought for will be gone.

I wish mankind could resolve conflicts that people are willing to die over without having to have them die. I don’t believe this day will ever come. 

It is great to be the most powerful country in the world. To remain so we have no option but to keep our military strong and to be prepared to go to war to protect and preserve what we have. It is my hope and prayer that by having this ability we can avoid future wars.

Just a thought...

Rick Kraft is a motivational speaker, a syndicated columnist, a published author, and an attorney. To submit comments, contributions, or ideas, e-mail to rkraft@kraftlawfirm.org or write to P.O. Box 850, Roswell, New Mexico, 88202 - 0850.

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