As this newsletter is hopefully a testament, I try to be an advocate for peace whenever possible. One could argue, of course, that everyone is—generally speaking—in favor of peace. But given the glamorization of violence which seems to permeate today's culture, I believe promoting a peaceful and harmonious attitude is a worthy endeavor.
That said, I'm fully aware that I’m only able to safely sit here and extol the virtues of peace because of the sacrifices made by generations of American military personnel, without whom our modern peaceful lifestyle simply would not exist. My father was a U.S. Marine who was—against all odds—spared the horrors of war when he was assigned to Camp Pendleton as a weapons instructor at the height of the Korean War. Many of his fellow basic trainees from Quantico were not so fortunate: The majority of those in his platoon were killed or wounded in the Korean theater. How often do I stop and consider the tremendous debt I owe the men and woman throughout our nation's history who sacrificed their lives so the rest of us could live in peace and prosperity? Not often enough.
How many Americans have died in U.S. wars? Here's a breakdown by conflict.
Highly recommended: The Fallen of WWII is a short but powerful interactive documentary that not only puts into perspective the horrific costs of war, but ends on a more hopeful note: the decline in battle deaths in the years since the Second World War. As mentioned in the film, peace can be a hard thing to quantify, but The Fallen of WWII makes a compelling attempt, and I would urge you to take the time to watch.
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…before we headed home that evening, I attempted to draw a Picasso-esque bull with my iPhone flashlight…