Pondering the Gory of War

Prairie Gleanings

Thank you, veterans, for protecting our country and her interests.

Published on: May 28, 2012
On a day such as this, it’s easy to get swept up in the patriotic images we often associate with war. A grandfather looking dapper in his dress uniform, Old Glory framed for display, or white gloves firing rifles in a 21-gun salute.

For many in my generation, these images are how we understand Memorial Day. The majority of us did not go to war. We don’t understand how it feels to see close friends, many of them barely over the age of 18, die in an arena of combat.

In 8th grade, my history teacher took a day to explain the difference between the glory and the gory of war. It’s a lesson that stuck. Digging into World War II, we examined photos from the era of girlfriends and wives waving goodbye to their soldiers. These young men left high on the glory of war.

During the lecture, he explained how these young men found a harsh reality overseas. Bullets, bombs and blood quickly thrust these fresh faces into the gory of war. If the actual war itself wasn’t bad enough, consider the soldiers who slugged through the Battle of the Bulge wearing light summer clothing. Or those who suffered in POW camps for years.

For every veteran who experienced the gory of war to protect our freedom – thank you. I know my gratitude is a pittance compared to the sacrifices made by many of this nation’s men and women. Still, it is there. And it will always be there, regardless of the conflict.

Try to take a moment this Memorial Day to consider the gory of war. Each soldier who gave their life for our freedom likely endured extreme physical and emotional pain before doing so. In the moments before making the ultimate sacrifice, many fully realized the implications of their decision. And, yet, they still did it.

On top of my thanks, I’d like to add this, “It was worth it.” I fully believe we live in the greatest nation on earth. This country is no stranger to adversity. However, I still believe in a system that allows a traveling milkshake machine salesman to create the largest fast food chain in the nation. Thank you, veterans, for protecting this country and its ideals.