October 5, 1789: 6,000 angry working-class women — armed with everything they had and could get from the city armory — march in the rain from Paris to King Louis XVI’s palace in Versailles to demand bread. Once there, they stormed the gates and compelled the king to return with them to Paris, which proved to be his downfall.
I am 65 years old. For my entire life, there has been a war going on somewhere and usually, the US has been involved or is about to become involved.
I keep hoping, if I live long enough, there will come a day when there is no war in the news, when the U.S. has no fighting men dying somewhere for reasons no one will remember a decade later.
War doesn’t seem to be working out very well.
Before I die, I would like to see a world without war. What do you figure my odds are? Not very good I wager.
1914 V: The Soldier
If I should die, think only this of me:
That there’s some corner of a foreign field
That is for ever England. There shall be
In that rich earth a richer dust concealed;
A dust whom England bore, shaped, made aware,
Gave, once, her flowers to love, her ways to roam,
A body of England’s, breathing English air,
Washed by the rivers, blest by suns of home.
And think, this heart, all evil shed away,
A pulse in the eternal mind, no less
Gives somewhere back the thoughts by England given;
Her sights and sounds; dreams happy as her day;
And laughter, learnt of friends; and gentleness,
In hearts at peace, under an English heaven.
Rupert Brooke never came back from the war. An entire generation of the young men of Europe and England died in that war and the population had barely begun to return to normal when War II came calling.
As we celebrate Veteran’s Day, it is good to remember that Americans did not fight alone. Millions upon millions of English and European soldiers died in the two world wars “over there.” The number of military and civilian casualties in World War I totaled more than 37 million of which American military deaths are 53,402.
World War II fatalities (total dead) estimates are from 50 to more than 70 million, making it the deadliest war in world history. American military deaths came to 291,557.
In both world wars, civilian casualties out-numbered military casualties.
I want to believe that the era of endless war is coming to a close. During every year of my life, from my first memories of the Korean War, through Vietnam, the myriad wars in Africa, Europe, and Asia … there has been a war going on somewhere. As often as not, American fighting men are involved. I hope one of these days war will be notations in history books and not an everyday reality. I can, at least, hope.