I just checked the most recent numbers, and it seems the number of armed conflicts has been decreasing. In 2010, there were 24 armed conflicts raging across the globe. Yet there are still far too many conflicts impacting far too many people--military combatants and civilians alike.
Since my country's war with Afghanistan started, more than 3,000 coalition forces have lost their lives (source: icasualties.org). Our government does not find it necessary to track the number of civilian deaths, yet we know that civilians continue to lose their lives in the conflict. The UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan estimates that more than 6,000 civilians were killed since 2009 alone.
The impacts of war--on human lives, on the human spirit, on the human family--are so devastating. And so on this Memorial Day, I remember not only my countrymen and women, but my Iraqi and Afghani brothers and sisters as well. I remember those living in the midst of 24 armed conflicts, trying to live their lives, feed their families, mourn loved ones. On this memorial day, I keep them all in my prayers and in my heart.
As I wrote seven years ago:
My life in America is so far removed from their reality, even though the mess that is the Iraq [and Afghanistan ] war was started in my/our name. To "protect" my/your freedom. ...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?
May peace fill our hearts, our homes and our world. Amen