It is Memorial Day Weekend – and i have been thinking a lot about war and peace. Partly it started because i am listening to a new mystery series by Jacqueline Winspear – the Maisie Dobbs series. The series is set in England before, during and right after the Great War (World War I) and i have found myself learning far more about that war than i remember learning in high school.
As i read/listen to the stories i become curious about the history and have searched out additional information. I have learned that the Great War is considered the 6th deadliest war ever with over 9 million men and women killed. (One page on wiki lists the low estimate of deaths and 15 million and the high as 65 million – including combatants and civilians) Numbers which beg the question – what were the top 5 deadliest wars? but more on that later….In one campaign (innocent sounding word for a lengthy series of battles centered on one objective) the Battle of the Somme – there were more than 1 million deaths including more than 60,000 casualties (read deaths or serious injuries) the first day alone. The numbers are mind boggling and the descriptions of the battles and battlefields are devastating. If you have seen War Horse – the no man’s land depicted was the Western Front. No man or woman who was there and survived ~ walked away unscathed.
Memorial Day – the last Monday in May – originated in the nineteenth century as a day to remember the men who died during the civil war. Since that time is has become a time to remember all men and women who have died in the service of their country. Sometimes i like to forget i am a veteran – it seems so long ago and far away, like another person’s life. I was fortunate for someone who was in the service (army) during the Viet Nam “Conflict” (another polite word for what in reality was a ferocious and deadly war). At that time in our history only women officers were allowed “in country” and i was an enlisted soldier and medic, so i served at home in a major army medical center. Much of my time there i worked convalescent orthopedics – so i worked with injured men returning from Viet Nam. I will never forget their nightmares and they vivid images of friends injured and dyeing that they could not forget.
Today i am spinning for Peace ~ i am still one footed (for one more week) so it is a spindle for me. As i spin i will repeat my metta prayer for peace and let the motion of the spindle send my prayers into the cosmos.
May i live in peace and harmony
May my friends and family live in peace and harmony
May all people live in peace and harmony