I’m writing this on Memorial Day. It might surprise you to know that Whitley’s family has had at least one soldier in every war our country has ever fought, from the Revolution to Afghanistan. That includes both sides during the Civil War, and one ancestor who died at the Alamo. So we feel this day very deeply, as one of both personal remembrance and national remembrance.
Sadly, we’re still fighting wars, and the world is showing every indication, with the sabre rattling of Russia and China, that we’ll be fighting another one sooner or later. If you look back across history, you find that what is written about is war and disaster and death. But there is also an unwritten history, and it’s the reason that we’re all still here. This is the history of love and birth and life. Can you imagine what a different world this would be if we committed the history of joy to paper and forgot the history of hate, instead of the other way around?
Today we remember those who have left their bones on the battlefields that have kept us free, the scared boys who faced the bullets of all the tyrannies we have fought, our just wars and our unjust wars–and may there be very few of those!
No matter if we think a given war was just or unjust, we can all agree with the Dylan Thomas poem, And Death Shall have no Dominion. “And death shall have no dominion. Dead men naked they shall be one/With the man in the wind and the west moon;/When their bones are picked clean and the clean bones gone…death shall have no dominion.”