Today in the US, we are observing Memorial Day, a day in which we remember the many people who gave their lives in service to their country. As I think of them, I can’t help but feel a sense of deep loss at the lives gone and the potential unfulfilled.
I’m not naïve enough to think that we can instantly end all of the conflict and hostility there is in the world. But at the same time, I think we owe it to those who lost their lives, and to their loved ones, to do our best to make sure that no more young people have to die in war.
Perhaps top on my list of commentary on war comes from Peter Weir’s Witness (1985). By the way, if you haven’t seen it, I recommend it highly. In this scene, young Samuel Lapp (Lukas Haas), who is Amish, is having a conversation with his grandfather, Eli (Jan Rubeš). For those of you not familiar with the Amish, among other things, they are conscientious objectors to war. The first 30 seconds of the clip are key.
I’ve never heard it said better. I’d like to think there’s always another way, too. It may not come immediately, but it will not come if we aren’t willing to do the work we need to do to find other options to war.
I think that’s the least we owe to those who gave their lives in service to their country, and to their families.
*NOTE: The title of this post comes, of course, right from this scene.