A thought-provoking free verse poem about the recurring need for war memorials.
|A memorial for the American soldiers
killed in World War I is now being built
in Washington, D.C. That war was America’s
great war during my grandfather’s generation,
a war where 116,516 Americans died … such a sad
statistic to contemplate … so many lives lost for
that generation to bear.
I have visited the World War II Memorial there
in Washington, as well as the haunting memorial
for the Korean War. These two wars were during
my father’s generation. 405,399 American soldiers
died in WWII, followed by another 36,516 deaths
in Korea … such sad statistics to contemplate …
so many lives lost for that generation to bear.
My generation had its Vietnam War, in which
58,307 Americans were killed. The names
of the dead inscribed on The Wall make quite
an impressive sight … so many names …
such a sad statistic to contemplate …
so many lives lost for my generation to bear.
Someday I imagine there will be a memorial
built in Washington in honor of the dead
American soldiers killed in Middle Eastern wars,
which are the wars of my children’s generation.
The death tolls for those wars now are about:
250 deaths in the Gulf War; 2,375 in Afghanistan;
4,500 in Iraq, totaling some 7,125 deaths thus far,
with fighting and dying in the Middle East far
from finished … such a sad statistic to contemplate …
so many lives lost for this generation to bear.
One must wonder what wars will America
engage in with how many young lives lost
during my grandchildren’s generation.
How many dead soldiers will require yet another
memorial be built to commemorate their
dreams dying on some foreign battlefield?
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if that generation
instead had no need for a war memorial
but was the first generation of Americans in one
hundred and twenty five years to know only peace!
One can only hope and dream of someday peace
replacing war in America.
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