Memorial Day

Besides writing, I teach High School Social Science. One of the courses I teach is Modern World History, or the history of the world beginning around the time of the industrial revolution. I love the course and I love teaching. The course covers many wars and conflicts including the two world wars. War is destruction.

War has always been a part of human existence. Perhaps it always will be. Few things are more devastating and destructive. It still saddens me to teach: French Revolution, Russian Revolution, Taiping Rebellion, Boxer Rebellion, Sepoy Mutiny, Armenian Genocide, The Great War, World War Two the Holocaust Korea, Vietnam and others. Tens of millions of lives have been destroyed as a function of war and conflicts. The effects didn’t end with just the loss of that person but the damage spread to those who called them family and friend and those in their community. War is destruction.

By the way, I joined the Army immediately out of high school. I served five years. I served honorably. I loved my time in service and I performed well. I love my country. I love and respect other countries. I hate war. Even small wars. War is destruction.

Herman Goering is a Nazi war criminal tried at Nuremberg. He was asked about war. His answer is possibly the more insightful and honest a man who drove the engines of war ever gave:

Goering: Why, of course, the people don’t want war. Why would some poor slob on a farm want to risk his life in a war when the best that he can get out of it is to come back to his farm in one piece? Naturally, the common people don’t want war; neither in Russia, nor in England, nor in America, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy or a fascist dictatorship or a Parliament or a Communist dictatorship.

Gilbert: There is one difference. In a democracy, the people have some say in the matter through their elected representatives, and in the United States only Congress can declare wars.

Goering: Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are going attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country.

It’s a sad truth. Human institutions cannot be better than those who create them. War is the mirror that exposes how awful we can be. War is destruction.

So on this day,  a day to remember those who we lost as a result of war, I salute you who were lost and I drink a drink to remember you. Your loss is not in vain as long as those of us still alive remember your sacrifice. I wish you were here with us now to enjoy the bittersweet taste of memory. Cheers to the fallen, may your memory endure forever.

I thought it would be Different

I thought it would be different

That we would be content

And no longer would we resent

When we said I do

I figured we’d be better

Happier than ever

Always together

When we said I do

I thought you’d no longer

Say hurtful things in anger

And burn us like a fire

When you said I do

I thought it would end

The constant breaks to mend

No more rules you bend

When you said I do

I hoped you’d be devoted

My heart you gently hold it

I would be your chosen

When you said I do

I thought we’d be together

In love with one another

Now and forever

When we said I do

But you never wanted

My love you squandered

My heart you sundered

Till I said I can’t

Poem: I thought I knew

I thought I knew hurt

Then I let you hurt me

I thought I knew betrayal

Then you used me like no other

I thought I knew deceit

Then you lied like you love it

I thought I knew monsters

Then your mask fell away

I thought I knew bondage

Then you locked me in a cage

I thought I knew despair

Then you threw me to the abyss

I thought that you loved me

But there is no love in you

I thought I was living

But you killed my spirit

I thought you were my partner

But you never cared about me

I thought I had a relationship

I was trapped in a nightmare

Poem: Who?

Who’s wishing you goodnight?

Who’s bidding you good morning?

Who’s checking in on you to

Make sure you are all right?

Who’s messaging you all day?

Who’s making you laugh?

Who’s getting pictures of you

Lounging in your bath?

Who’s texts are you hiding?

Who’s calls you take in secret?

Who’s getting your love

And affection more frequent?

Who’s comparing do you prefer?

So much more than mine?

Who’s smiling across the table

As you pour some more wine?

I used to be The Who.

That you chose to love always.

Always ended so quickly

It’s left me in a daze.

Poem: Empty

Like a desert dry and desolate.

My soul anguishes indefinite.

A plaything for your endless torment.

You could save my spirit make me whole.

Yet you make my suffering your goal.

Forever devouring my soul.

I can endure no more of this pain.

I beg, do not punish me again.

I’m dead inside, now you can refrain.

Poem: I loved you

I loved you,

When I first met you.

I loved you,

Our first night together.

I loved you,

On our first romantic trip.

I loved you,

When we laughed and joked.

I loved you,

When we were together.

I loved you,

When we were apart.

I loved you,

When we broke up.

I loved you,

When you called me names.

I loved you,

When you hurt me so.

I loved you,

When you hit me.

I loved you,

When you mocked me.

I loved you,

When you tried again.

I loved you,

When we got back together.

I loved you,

When you wanted to marry.

I loved you,

When you lied to me.

I loved you,

When you cheated.

I loved you,

When you made accusations.

I loved you,

When you left.

I loved you,

When you came home drunk.

I loved you,

When you treated me like dirt.

I loved you,

When my heart broke at last.

Now, I cannot love you.

I gave it all. You took it all. You spit in my face.

I loved you no longer.