Memorial Thoughts

This year Memorial Day seems more poignant than usual. So many lives have been lost in the Iraq war. Not to mention the 37 other armed conflicts across the globe.

Sunday’s Oregonian highlighted the 56 Oregonians who have died so far. Last June when my parish had an Interfaith Peace Prayer Service it was only 10. How sad….

According to the online Iraq Coalitions Casualties Count, over 1,600 Americans have died. I remember when it hit 1,000. Almost 200 members of coalition countries have lost their lives. I’ve never been able to find a site with numbers of Iraqi soldiers and police who’ve died but I’m sure it’s an even bigger number.

In the blogosphere community it hits home too … Kat at Finding God in All Things is dealing with the loss of a cousin who was serving in Iraq.

But on this memorial day I do not just remember my countrymen, but my Iraqi brothers and sisters as well. In fact, the civilian numbers are staggering. Iraq Body Count tracks just those civilian deaths that are reported in the press. Now we know this is just a fraction of the real number of casualties. The reported deaths number between 21,000 and 25,000. Again, when I was planning our June 2004 Peace Prayer service it was in the 10,000 range. And if things keep going I see no end in sight.

All of these people, American and coalition soldiers, Iraqi soldiers and police, and the women, men and children who try to live their lives in the war zone that is Iraq have families and loved ones who mourn them. On this memorial day I keep them all in my prayers and in my heart.

My life in America is so far removed from their reality, even though the mess that is the Iraq war was started in my/our name. To "protect" my/your freedom. (In case you haven’t guessed, I’m a bit of a peacenick and a pacifist and have been and will continue to be present at my share of protests and prayer vigils.)

I agree with Pope John Paul II who said, "No to war! … It is always a defeat for humanity."
I agree with MLK who said "Wars are poor chisels for carving out peaceful tomorrows."
I agree with Master Yoda, who "said," "Wars do not make one great."

But on this memorial day I do not protest, but pray. For an end to war. For God’s peace to fill our hearts, and to comfort those who mourn and remember those they have lost. What else can I do?

1 comment:

Regina Clare Jane said...

Right there with you, Susan... all that's left is to pray...