Friday, April 20, 2007

Memorials and Moments of Silence

Once again we in this country find ourselves mourning the senseless killing of our citizens by others who are warped, deranged, ideologically skewed, or whatever other psychological affliction they suffer from or reason they choose to claim. Columbine eight years ago, the Amish school children last year, VA Tech a few days ago – makes you wonder about our society that these things continue to occur despite the passage of time, the analysis, the post mortem of who, what, where, when, and of course the how. The horror of it brought home – makes it easier to imagine how the people of Iraq feel 24/7!

This week we lost 33 students at a university nestled in the shadow of the Blue Ridge Mountains, a beautiful setting and one would hope a peaceful setting. This week the world lost over 200 people, killed in Iraq, in the desert or nestled between the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers. The totals for April so far are 69+ American dead, 10+ British and 1038 Iraqi Security Forces and Civilian Deaths. These are unofficial numbers but if anything they are underestimates.

Death is always sad and most times tragic; violent death is ALWAYS tragic. I do not mean to belittle the 33 who died in Virginia this week, but I want to know why we do not honor those who die and are wounded day after day serving our country in a senseless war of choice in Iraq, in the war we needed to fight in Afghanistan, and other places throughout the world. Is it only because these were innocent kids who were struck down because (we think) of a mentally unstable man who bought guns, practiced, and showed up on campus ready to make them pay for his perceived hurts? Are those who are struck down by IEDs, gunfire (friendly and enemy), etc. any less important because they volunteered to serve our country?

The real difference between them perhaps is that while the students in Virginia were victims of a horrible circumstance, those who die in Iraq are victims of a Bush league administration’s choice – a circumstance dictated, orchestrated, encouraged, and perpetrated by a group of political idealists, power-hungry, arrogant fools. In some ways I don’t see them as any less disturbed than the perpetrator of Monday’s massacre, and in many ways I think they are more disturbed. Sadly they functioned well enough to achieve positions of true power so their mental challenges adversely affect large populations, not only at home but abroad.

Today at noon I heard the tolling of bells ticking off the moment of silence declared for the dead at Virginia Tech. Shouldn’t we have a publicized daily or weekly moment of silence to commemorate the deaths of our troops, honoring them, keeping them in our hearts and minds, until those still alive return home?

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