I have never been to Oradour sur Glane. I have heard of it, read accounts of the atrocities there, seen photos of the aftermath…but I have never visited. I have been many other places in Europe where the grim cost of war was evident: the Ossuary at Verdun, Malmedy, The Anne Frank House, just to name a few. I have also been place where the scars were fresher: Bosnia and Kosovo, for example. Then I experienced it firsthand in Iraq and Afghanistan.
On Memorial Day I spent a great deal of time reflecting on those I knew who gave their all far from home: the men and women who had a job to do and did it…giving their lives in the process. I also thought about the innocents: the men, women, and children who want no part of war, but get more than their share all the same.
Perhaps one day we as a species will discover a better way of resolving our differences. We learn over and over again that war is unpredictable and costly, and that that cost is rarely worth the perceived benefit. But every now and then we find a “Good War” and we cling to the hope that this time the cause is truly worthy…even though it is usually not. Perhaps one day we will learn. I certainly hope so.