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Thursday, May 17, 2012

Wars and Who Fights Them

Electronic communications allows my 1963 graduating class to participate in virtual reunions. We're a chatty e-Google-Group, who came of age during the 1960s.


Every day, we discuss shared experiences and memories. Recently, we discussed the emotional difficulties of living through many wars. 


My Maryland high school friend wrote about her visit to Washington DC to see the Viet Nam Memorial, the Korean War Memorial and Arlington Cemetery. Her discussion was about the brutality and extraordinary expenses of wars.


"It seems to me that there must be an alternative to war.  Can't we make the leaders of the  countries thinking about war sit in a time out and contemplate what they are about to do?  Why do they choose to send our youth to war?," she writes


It's hard to remember a time over the past 50 years when there weren't wars.


Reflecting on the many wars my Dundalk High School graduating class lived through since we marched toward graduation, our electronic discussion board wondered why wars recruit young people? In fact, some aging early boomers in our group offered to join the military and fight wars. One said he would volunteer to take the place of a young person going to war!


From Arizona, my high school friend wrote: "When the 1st Gulf War was initiated, I suggested that those of us who were older and still fit, should go. Why take the youth? I would have volunteered."



A wonderful idea came from one classmate who might even have a solution to preventing Americans from going to war. He suggests requiring the legislators who authorize wars to be among those who serve:


He writes, "...and wherever American Military are in harm's way the Senate and Congress must be deployed with them and serve 6-8 weeks rotating one third at a time.  Let them see close up what they do to our finest...."


Our class lived through the end of World War II, many of our parents are Veterans of the European and Pacific battles.  We also lived through the Korean Conflict, which continues to this day.  About half of us were born after the discovery of Atomic Power, Hiroshima and Nagasaki.  Many of us knew people who are now among the names carved on the Viet Nam War Memorial.  Several alumni served in Viet Nam, or their spouses went to war, as my husband went to Viet Nam two times.  We also lived through the Gulf Wars I and II, the devastation of September 11, 2001 and the War on Terrorism, Afghanistan and Iraq.  


Indeed, we have experiences to share and advice to give to those who send people to fight wars.


It seems to me, a Senate Committees should call my high school class to testify about how we believe it may be possible to end American involvement in Wars.  Let's look at Congressional officials, eye to eye, and tell them it's their time to serve in any future wars!  


Novel idea? Or something of fiction.  


We experienced alumni agree - Those who cause wars should be required to fight them.


Public Comment from Joe in Bangor Maine (sent to me via email):  "Why should Congress fight any war? They have failed since the World War 2 era to even Declare a war in violation of the Constitution which they have taken and oath to preserve and protect. Besides too many of them get money from those who make money from war. They can with a wink and a nod clamor for our "protection" while storing up money for their re-election!" 



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