Collateral Damage

Published September 11, 2016 by zuzusays

Collateral Damage

I saw the painting The Cloth Hall, Ypres by Russell and immediately recognized the World Trade Center of 9/11. Today we remember that horrific attack that happened 15 years ago, and for me it’s as if it happened last week, the emotions are still so raw.  The events of war affect every living being.  The dead are dead, but those left have to figure out how to find their way forward in a world that’s changed.  I had to look up Cloth Hall, Ypres and found that it was Flanders Field, the Western Front that finally was All Quiet, at least it was for a mere 20 years.  Then all hell broke loose again, The Great War became WWI and WWII was raging, sucking millions into the horror of death, destruction and altered lives again.  It was not long before many were tangled up in Korea, Viet Nam, Desert Storm, New Dawn, Iraqi Freedom, Enduring Freedom….

But we humans are inclined to fight for freedom, for our families, for our country’s culture, for the freedom, rights, safety, and security of others who ask us for help, so we go when called.  We send our young, we rally those at home to support our troops with supplies and encouragement, we raise funds to aid them when they return home battered. And our troops pass the mantle of war on to those who follow, they feel the responsibility of those who have gone before, to fight to protect those at home, the future for their children and their country. They often see beyond themselves as individuals and understand the collective importance of being a country that preserves something greater than the individual, something that is good and right.

It’s summed up famously in a poem that was written by a young man about his reflections of the death of his friend on Flanders Fields before the Western Front went quiet –

IN FLANDERS FIELDS POEM
The World’s Most Famous WAR MEMORIAL POEM
By Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae
© 2009 Flanders Fields Music

In Flanders fields the poppies blow


Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place: and in the sky
The larks still bravely singing fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the dead: Short days ago,
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved: and now we lie
In Flanders fields!

Take up our quarrel with the foe
To you, from failing hands, we throw
The torch: be yours to hold it high
If ye break faith with us who die,
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields
Composed at the battlefront on May 3, 1915
during the second battle of Ypres, Belgium

Sept. 11, 2001

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