July 17, 2006

The Dead

Vietnam Memorial
We are in Washington DC. Last night, it promising to swelter, we walked down the mall past the Washington Monument to the Vietnam War Memorial, which I had never seen, and the Lincoln Memorial.

The Vietnam Memorial has a simplicity and silence about it that was very moving. And tens of thousands of names of men, mostly young, killed in that war. Each had parents, a hometown, friends, imagination, dreams. Each was cut short, as were thousands of others among our allies and foes.

And so it is in every war. Even now, rockets and bombs are raining down, mostly indiscriminately, in Israel and Lebanon. A week ago, hundreds perished in the Mumbai trains.

Each of the dead is a world, a universe. I am no pacifist, but to each of those who advocate, or support, or direct the making of war, this message. Never forget the cost. Never forget the potential for folly, for error. And do not forget that wars, like other human efforts, seldom happen or end, as intended.

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