By Joe White
“The world is not dangerous because of those who do harm. It’s dangerous because of those who watch and do nothing.” Albert Einstein
This past week, my son and his dog, while taking their nightly walk, were attacked by a pit bull. The attack was sudden, explosive. The adult pit bull was relentless in its charging and biting of both my son and his dog. My son and his dog are now recuperating with many bite wounds, stitches, stints and trauma. I’ve heard repeatedly this week that’s it not the dog but its owner’s fault for raising such an animal. That may be true but what has also deeply bothered me is my son describing the group of people who stood behind a fence and simply watched as he struggled on the ground fighting the pit bull. At one point his right forearm was in the pit bull’s mouth as it tried to drag him away while the people, including children, just watched silently.
Now another Memorial Day holiday is upon us. The kick-off of summer, the Indy 500, playoff games, maybe a family picnic, catch up on laundry and perhaps some us will remember our war dead. How does one remember the 700,000+ U.S. war dead from our past 240 years of national history? I fear what answer I might get on the street to the question, “When was the War of 1812?” Who knows the traditional estimates of war dead from WW I, WWII, Korea, Vietnam, the Cold War, Desert Storm, Iraqi Freedom etc.? Who knows the dates of those wars? Their circumstances? What should be remembered? In what detail to make this a genuine Memorial Day?
For some of us, it will be a day of tears, of mourning. How about you? Will you take fifteen minutes to remember those who suffered for years in war and those who died slowly or quickly in war? Will you experience gratitude on never having gone to war or been in combat? Perhaps gratitude to those who did go, who did suffer and die? Will you experience indifference or simple, ignorant gratitude for simply having a holiday, a day off, whatever it is? Are you indifferent to the remembering of the horrors of war and the lives haunted by war and its PTSD? Memorial Day is a vivid opportunity to know who you are. Memorial Day will define you. Your understanding, your knowledge, your ignorance, your interest, your indifference, cynicism, pessimism, optimism, your role in the world, in history. Are you just watching? Will the pit bull win?
At 2020 A Year Without War, we encourage you to first find a quiet, isolated place to reflect upon war as you’ve experienced it in your life. There has been plenty to go around. Second, make an existential choice to not simply watch and do nothing. DO SOMETHING! Choose your level of facing down this horrible, archaic human practice of war. Simply push a button to support the idea/experiment of 2020 A Year Without War. There are many opportunities for extended involvement with 2020 AYWW and there is the simplest steps of involvement, voting your conscience by JOINING, LIKING, SHARING and RECRUITING.
“The (concentration camp) prisoner who had lost faith in the future – his future –was doomed. With loss of belief in the future… he let himself decline and became subject to mental and physical decay.” Victor Frankl. From Death-Camp to Existentialism (Man’s Search for Meaning.)