In Australia April 25th is ANZAC day, where my friend Love and his countrymen remember their young men who died in the futile battle of Gallipoli in World War I.

Love posted this haunting song about that battle.  Eric Bogle’s “And The Band Played Waltzing Matilda”

Through out history young people have marched off to war being cheered as heroes.  Countless generations then learn the same lesson, there is no glory in war, just death and destruction.  Every generation then promptly forget this lesson.

I am not a pacifies.  When someone attacks our family and home, we should defend ourselves.  War however should always be our last choice, when everything else has failed.

When our leaders pump out their chest, and call on us to sacrifice our lives, with messages of patriotism, we need to ask the critical question, “Why?”.  We don’t and history repeats itself, over and over.

(Clarification – I served in Viet Nam, and know a few of the names on the Viet Nam War Memorial.  When referencing the term “Wall of Shame” the shame I am referring to belongs to the politicians who wasted the lives of so many brave man and women in a war that never should have been fought.)

I remember the debate over the design of the war memorial to the American soldiers who died in Viet Nam, that now stands in my nations capital.  

Many political leaders, and veterans organizations, wanted a traditional, heroic, style of architecture.  What was built was a simple wall listing the names of all the men and women who died.  Many Americans were outraged, calling it a “wall of shame”.  They were right, it is a wall of shame.  An America that sent these men and women off to die for no good reason should be ashamed.

Viet Nam Memorial

Viet Nam Memorial

After 6 years, and 58,000 killed, the polls showed that over 50% of Americans still supported that war.  It would not surprise me if a poll was taken now, most Americans would still say we were right to fight in Viet Nam.

I will join Love in honoring his lost country men.  I will hope, as he will pray, that someday we will come to understand the futility, horror, that is war.  I have no clue when that day will come.