His children will not sing around his knees
‘Papa! Papa!’ on his return from war….
and Aigialeia, Adrestos’ daughter,
starting up from sleep some night in tears
may waken all the house, missing her husband
-Homer, The Iliad (5.469-76)
Of all the crimes war commits, the cruelest by far is the families it destroys by taking away loved ones. No matter what your religious views, it the ones left behind that suffer most, not the soldiers who have lost their lives. Please don’t misunderstand me. It is not my intent to belittle the sacrifice of life made by those fighting for their country and beliefs. But if we only focus on those who have died overseas, we lose track of a much bigger picture, and that is the effects of war in our own country.
Mothers and fathers are forced to endure what is, perhaps, the greatest trial any parent can face, that is, the loss of a child. Wives and husbands wake up in queen-sized beds only to find no one beside them. They find themselves faced with the stark reality behind their wedding vows “’till death do us part”. And children, many too young to understand, wait eagerly for parents that won’t be coming home, some thinking that of only they had been better children, mommy and daddy might have lived. This is the cost of war, and we would all do well not to forget it.
Perhaps I am asking too much, but I would like to think I’m not. My challenge is this: Lets stop thinking about the war as Democrats and Republicans, and start thinking about it as humans.