Celebrating Veterans Day this weekend, it is good to remember the price that is paid for the freedom we enjoy and the peace we desire. We express our thanks for those who serve our country and put themselves in harm’s way, so that we might be free.
This week’s Soul Food for Friday features words on war. Such words are not what one typically thinks of food for the soul, but are intended to provide a framework to think through the price war exacts, and to thank those who have paid that price for peace to be preserved.
“A professional soldier understands that war means killing people, war means maiming people, war means families left without fathers and mothers. All you have to do is hold your first dying soldier in your arms, and have that terribly futile feeling that his life is flowing out and you can’t do anything about it. Then you understand the horror of war. Any soldier worth his salt should be antiwar. And still there are things worth fighting for.” — Gen. H. Norman Schwarzkopf
“Every war begins with fear.” — Aelius Aristides
“The question one might pose to the postmodern skeptic who wonders whether war can ever be a good thing is, ‘Would it be a demonstration of goodness to show no opposition to evil?'” — Amy Orr-Ewing
“Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocked fired, signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold, and not clothed … This is not a way of life at all sense in any sense. Under the cloud of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from a cross of iron.” — Dwight D. Eisenhower
“Virtue and the common good are the pivots of the classical Christian account of the just war.” — Darrell Cole
“Americans surprised themselves with the extent of violence they could attain.” — Charles Royster on the Civil War in The Destructive War
“Every war … with all its ordinary consequences .. the murder with the justifications of its necessity and justice, the exaltation and glorification of military exploits, the worship of the flag, the patriotic sentiments … and so on, does more in one year to pervert men’s minds than thousands of robberies, murders, and arsons perpetuated during hundreds of years by individual men under the influence of passion.” — Leo Tolstoy
“Without armaments peace cannot be kept; wars are waged not only to repel injustice but also to establish a firm peace.” — Martin Luther
“You can no more win a war than you can win an earthquake.” — Jeannette Rankin
“The tragedy of war is that it uses man’s best to do man’s worst.” — Harry Emerson Fosdick
“Christians may without sin … engage in just wars, serve as soldiers.” — Article 16, Augsburg Confession
“War is and always has been a brutal exercise that destroys lives, families and communities. It is never something for which we hope.” — Rick Warren
“Warfare is not God’s first and best plan for humanity. His first plan, was a perfect garden where man and woman enjoyed perfect fellowship with their Creator. However, when they rebelled against God, the perfection of the first plan was broken. … Since that time, families, tribes, and nations have developed weapons to attack others or defend themselves. Over the centuries, conflicts expanded from family feuds to national wars.” — Col. Rick Bereit
“We have war when at least one of the parties to a conflict wants something more than it wants peace.” — Jeanne J. Kirkpatrick
“Peace is not sought in order to provoke war, but war is waged in order to attain peace.” — St. Augustine
Who are you remembering and giving thanks for this Veterans Day weekend?